Wednesday, October 19, 2016

News: Tata joins with steelmakers to challenge EU governments

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Tata Steel Europe is one of 58 companies in the European steel industry that have addressed EU leaders with a clear message: "Make the right choices to ensure that our sector and its value chains flourish, investment continues, and the jobs of the men and women who work in our sector are sustained."

The UK assets were put up for sale by the Indian conglomerate earlier this year but the steelmaker decided on a separate process for the potential sale of its Speciality Steels business, which until recently employed over 2,000 people at sites like Aldwarke in Rotherham and Stocksbridge in Sheffield.

Since Tata's announcement in March, there has been rising steel prices, a turnaround at Port Talbot, announcements from the Government on support for the industry, consultation on the pension scheme, a fall in the price of the pound and the EU referendum.

The open letter highlights the steel industry's challenges, and calls on EU policy makers to develop more effective, faster measures to re-establish fair trade, to align with the US on the Market Economy Status of China, and build an EU ETS that creates no cost burden beyond economic and technological feasibility.

Factors affecting the UK steel industry include energy, business rates, procurement and the effect of Chinese dumping on the European market - the main market for UK steel businesses.

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The call from the industry comes ahead of the European Council summit this week where EU leaders will discuss the modernisation of Europe's Trade Defence Instruments, which the European steel industry has consistently pushed for.

The steelmakers are calling for support on a number of issues "that could make or break our industry." These also include revised EU anti-dumping regulations and changes to the EU Emissions Trading System that they say will just see steel production move elsewhere if EU steelmakers are landed with more costs.

The UK Government has so far been against changes to the "Lesser Duty Rule" despite its removal potentially protecting European steel against China dumping steel into the EU. Tariffs for Chinese steel currently stand up to 73.7% in the EU but at more than 500% in the USA.

Earlier this month, Chancellor Philip Hammond recommitted the Government to backing Market Economy Status for China, a move which could flood market with more cheap, subsidised Chinese steel.

Tata Steel Europe website

Images: Tata Steel


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