China agrees to EU deal as steel industry crisis rumbles on

 
Jessica Morris
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China has been accused of flooding global markets with steel (Source: Getty)

EU leaders said today that they'd struck a deal with Beijing to discuss its flood of steel exports which have been blamed for the industry's crisis.

It came as Chinese President Xi Jinping met European Council President, Donald Tusk, and European Commission President, Jean Claude Juncker, today.

Juncker said the EU would use everything at its disposal to defend the embattled industry, while warning that "there is a clear link between steel overcapacity in China and the 'market economy status' for China".

Read more: Market economy status for China could kill Britain's steel industry

While China has been aggressively lobbying for market economy status under international trade law, there are concerns it would worsen the steel industry's prices by making it easier for Beijing to export to the EU.

Steel industry pain prompted Tata Steel to announce the sale of its loss-making UK operations earlier this year. The Indian conglomerate recently halted the planned sale in favour of collaboration talks with German rival ThyssenKrupp.

MPs today urged the parties involved to pledge protections for the Port Talbot steelworks, as they raised fresh concerns it could be "hoovered up" and closed.

Read more: Union urges Tata to end "rollercoaster of uncertainty" as it halts UK sale

Speaking in Westminster Hall, Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, whose constituency houses one of Tata's steelworks, said: "Clear assurances are required from the government, Tata and ThyssenKrupp that the mooted joint venture will in no way diminish Port Talbot."

Labour MP, Nia Griffith, added: "We are very, very worried indeed about what may happen with the talks with ThyssenKrupp."

She continued: "We’ve seen ThyssenKrupp – a very, very large conglomerate – just decide it doesn’t want to do certain things anymore, pull out of certain sectors and close down all those factories."

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