EC duty crackdown on Chinese steel imports

Hartlepool's Tata Steel site.

Hartlepool's Tata Steel site.

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European Commission bosses today revealed a crackdown on imports of two Chinese steel products.

The European Commission (EC) is to impose anti-dumping duties on the products and said the move was a “swift reaction” to unfair competition. It is an issue which has badly hit the UK steel industry, threatening job losses.

Tata Steel, Hartlepool.

Tata Steel, Hartlepool.

The measures affect hot-rolled flat steel and heavy plates of steel, and follow an investigation by the EC.

A statement said: “The Commission’s investigations confirmed that the Chinese products had been sold in Europe at heavily dumped prices.

“To provide EU companies with necessary breathing space, the Commission imposed duties ranging between 65.1% and 73.7% for heavy plates and 13.2% and 22.6% for hot-rolled steel.

“This should restore the profitability of the European heavy plates’ producers and prevent damage to the companies involved in the production of hot-rolled steel products.”

Steel producers in the UK have experienced first-hand what happens when trade is not free and fair and the UK Government will soon have the ability to match words with actions to ensure dumping of steel doesn’t take place on our shores

Dominic King, head of policy at trade group UK Steel

The EU statement also said: “The Commission has been using the available toolbox of trade defence instruments to the full extent possible, but it’s necessary to strengthen these mechanisms to bring them up to the reality of the current state of globalisation.

Dominic King, head of policy at trade group UK Steel, said: “The speed at which tariffs have been imposed on dumped steel from China by the EU today is welcomed; however, the duty levels are still inadequate, especially when compared with the firm action taken by the US.

“Steel producers in the UK have experienced first-hand what happens when trade is not free and fair and the UK Government will soon have the ability to match words with actions to ensure dumping of steel doesn’t take place on our shores.”

Back in July, Tata Steel confirmed they were to begin the process of selling off its Hartlepool site. Two pipe mills, in Brenda Road, Hartlepool – where 500 people are employed – were due to be put up for sale, along with the South Yorkshire-based Speciality Steels business. Hartlepool’s 20-inch Tube Mill is not part of the deal.

The dumping of cheap Chinese steel had been spotlighted as one reason for the problems facing the steel industry in the UK.