Wednesday, July 21, 2021

News: UK's steel safeguards extended


Local MP, John Healey has welcomed a last-minute Government U-turn over the removal of safeguard tariffs on cheap steel imports.

Rothbiz reported last month that Ministers were considering scrapping safeguards to protect the industry from foreign steel dumping.

The Trade Remedies Investigations Directorate (TRID) published its final recommendation recently. The body recommends axing protections for the British steel industry by removing several categories of steel from safeguard measures.

One of the products set to be removed is wire steel, produced at the Liberty plant in Rotherham. The US and EU are keeping protections in place.

As the deadline loomed, the Government announced that the five most important safeguards under threat would be extended for a further year, and that the decision-making powers of the Trade Remedies Authority would be reviewed.

Healey, the MP for Wentworth and Dearne, said: “This is a huge victory for our steelworkers, who have campaigned hard over the last month against the removal of these safeguards. Their efforts helped me and other MPs make the case in Parliament, force the Government to change its plans, and keep these protections in place.

“But the fight does not stop here. As part of the government’s review, I want the Trade Remedies Authority reformed to represent the views of workers and industry and consider the impact of its decisions on communities like ours.

“And second, we may have stopped the immediate threat from cheap imports, but we have to do more than that to protect the future of the British steel industry. We need a long-term plan for investment and modernisation, making the UK a world leader in low carbon steel production and putting British-made steel at the heart of every major infrastructure project in our country.”

Next on the agenda for the industry and parliamentarians is the issue of energy prices. MP Stephen Kinnock, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Steel and Metal-Related Industries has warned of a catastrophic impact on steel production if Ofgem, the energy regulator, goes through with a proposed hike in charges that would double network charges.

French and German steel makers face network charges equivalent to £1/MWh whilst UK steel makes already face network charges of £9 - £11/MWh.

Images: Liberty Steel


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