We heard recently from colleagues in the steel industry that the UK Government could be voting in the EU Council to make it even easier for cheap Chinese steel to flood into the UK, because the UK government’s usual position tends to be to champion free trade, and to vote against any protectionist duties. I therefore took immediate action, as secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Steel Group, to impress upon ministers the dire necessity for them to work with other EU countries and to vote in favour of keeping in place measures which protect our steel industry from excessive imports. Renewing these measures called anti-dumping duties is absolutely essential as non-EU steel imports have increased dramatically in the past two years – with imports of carbon steel reinforcement for concrete – “carbon rebar” up tenfold, posing a major threats to part of our steel industry. Our prompt action resulted in the UK voting for the anti-dumping measures with an overall majority of EU countries voting in favour.
This particular vote was about wire rod, but we now need the government to do the same when similar measures are brought forward for renewal on carbon rebar, grain oriented electrical steels and cold rolled steels.