Seven steel-producing European countries have said the continent’s steel industry is heading for collapse, and have asked the European Union to step in and tackle the issue of cheap steel from other countries, including China and Russia, the Financial Times reported Saturday.
The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Poland, Luxembourg and Belgium have sent a letter to the EU asking it to make sure the playing field for steel is more equal. An increase in low-priced Chinese exports have been blamed for the drop in global steel prices, which also has hurt steelmakers outside Europe.
The Friday letter to the European Commission said the EU “cannot remain passive when rising job losses and steelwork closures show there is a significant and impending risk of collapse in the European steel sector,” the Financial Times reported. “The commission should make full and timely use of the full range of EU trade policy instruments.”
Since 2008, the steel industry in Europe has lost about a fifth of its workforce. Last month, Tata Steel said it planned to cut more than 1,000 jobs across the United Kingdom because of falling steel prices in Europe, the result of cheap imports from other countries, especially China, the BBC reported.
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EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström pushed China earlier this week to cut some of its steel sector, announcing she would open investigations into whether China was dumping steel — or selling below market value or cost of production — into European countries. Later in February, the European Commission is set to slap China and Russia with duties as high as 16 percent and 26 percent, respectively, Reuters reported. China has said the EU’s claims of steel dumping should be taken to the World Trade Organization.