Steel sector renews calls for EU action

Billy Bambrough
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A flood of cheap Chinese steel from China means that UK producers are getting priced out of the the market (Source: Getty)

The steel industry is calling on the government to fight for higher tariffs on imported steel at crunch talks in Brussels tomorrow.

The European Union’s competitiveness council is set to debate whether further action should be taken to support the industry after Brussels imposed tariffs on some types of steel from China earlier this year.

The UK has joined other EU members in supporting the so-called lesser duty rule, forcing the lower of two tariffs to be used on imports, and making it “virtually meaningless”, according to angry producers who want it scrapped.

Tensions between the industry and the government have reached boiling point after the loss of around 5,000 jobs at British steel companies since the crisis began last year.

“Historically, we have been broadly in agreement with the government, but over the last six months we’ve been firmly at odds,” Gareth Stace, director of industry body UK Steel, told City A.M.

The government argues removing the lesser duty rule could have a negative impact on the UK economy.

The Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, and Slovenia are also in support of the rule.

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