Steel industry ‘drowning in flood of Chinese imports’, warns union boss

Tata Steel's site in Brenda Road in Hartlepool.

Tata Steel's site in Brenda Road in Hartlepool.

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Warm words and limited action are not enough to deal with the crisis in the steel industry, a trade expert has warned.

Gareth Stace, director of trade body UK Steel, spoke out on the day of the first-ever meeting of the Government-convened Steel Council.

He said the UK could learn much from the USA on how to deal with “under-priced, unfairly traded and state-supported imports from China.”

The Steel Council was due to look at how to address long-term issues for the steel sector.

It was only in January that Tata Steel confirmed it was slicing 1,050 jobs off its UK operation, including its Hartlepool site, which will shed 62 posts out of a town total of 500 steelworkers.

Mr Stace praised the USA for “acting decisively, swiftly and at a level that stops China dumping steel with impunity.

“By contrast, the meek and mild response in the EU is looking increasingly inadequate.

“Warm words and limited incremental action are not enough given the crisis conditions faced by steel makers across Europe today.”

Community union general secretary Roy Rickhuss said: “Unless the Secretary of State is prepared to join others in Europe and stand up for our industry soon the debate will be over, as we will have no industry left to save.

“We are drowning in this flood of Chinese imports and the US action will only serve to divert more Chinese steel towards Europe.”

Community said the US announcement of tariffs of 266% on Chinese steel contrasted starkly with the “measly” 16% Europe introduced last month.