China hits out at "unfair" EU tariffs on Chinese steel imports

Jessica Morris
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Tata Steel Prepares To Make Redundancies
The global steel crisis prompted Tata to re-evaluate its UK business (Source: Getty)

China slammed the "unfair" investigation methods used by the European Union to impose further tariffs on two types of Chinese steel exports.

"Reckless trade protectionism and mistaken methods that limit fair market competition are not the proper ways to develop the European Union steel industry," China's commerce ministry said in a statement posted on its website yesterday night.

Read more: Global glut led by China's production boom sees sun set on UK steel industry

It took issue with the bloc's "unfair and unreasonable" substitute country investigation method which is typically reserved for countries considered non-market economies, adding that it had seriously damaged "the interests of Chinese enterprises".

It came after the EU announced on Friday provisional duties for Chinese hot-rolled flat iron and steel products and heavy-plate steel of up to 22.6 per cent and up to 73.7 per cent respectively.

Provisional duties are upheld for up to six months until the European Commission completes its investigation. If upheld, they are typically set for five years.

‚ÄčA slew of cheap Chinese steel imports has been partly blamed for the UK steel crisis which has led to 5,000 job losses. British steel producers have also had to contend with high energy costs and waning international demand.

The headwinds prompted Indian conglomerate Tata Steel to seek a tie-up of its European business with those of German rival Thyssenkrupp earlier this year, putting thousands more UK steel jobs at risk.

Read more: This is why we can't blame the decline of the UK's steel industry on climate change

Data from the International Steel Statistics Bureau (ISSB) showed that deliveries from UK steel mills fell to 4.6m tonnes in the first half of this year, down from 34.5 per cent during the same period in 2015.

This was largely due to the closure of the SSI steelworks in Redcar last year, however even without this steel production in the UK was still 16 per cent lower at 4.3m tonnes. Much of the decline was due to Tata Steel, the Telegraph reported.

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