The UK and six other European steel producers have urged the EU to fight back against cheap steel imports, to stop the European industry “collapsing”.
Business secretary Sajid Javid joined ministers from Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium, France and Luxembourg in demanding the EU “ensure a global level playing field” for the industry.
“The European Union cannot remain passive when rising job losses and steelwork closures show that there is a significant and impending risk of collapse in the European steel sector,” they wrote, in a letter published by the Financial Times.
The ministers call on the European Commission to tackle “unfair trade” from countries like Russia and China, for instance by taking swifter action in several pending anti-dumping cases.
The European steel industry is suffering under prices that have gone into freefall on the back of cheap imports, particularly from China, and major steelmakers like Tata Steel cutting thousands of jobs in the UK alone.
The ministers note that the EU conference on the industry’s woes, slated for 15 February, is an “opportunity to explore these issues”:
We should also explore other ways to avoid the downturn of the European steel industry and guarantee the long term and sustainable development of the industry, such as supporting the development of low carbon technologies and processes for the steel industry.