Reinforcing steel at a warehouse in Fenyang, China. The non-binding resolution bolsters efforts to prevent steel dumping [Image: John Ruwitch/Reuters].

Reinforcing steel at a warehouse in Fenyang, China. The non-binding resolution bolsters efforts to prevent steel dumping [Image: John Ruwitch/Reuters].

The Tata Steel crisis has at least led to one good resolution (I apologise; the pun was irresistible).

MEPs decided China should not be granted ‘market economy’ status, meaning it will be possible to impose tariffs on Chinese steel, raising its price in European markets.

This could help protect the UK’s domestic steel industry, making it more price-competitive in the global marketplace.

The only fly in the ointment is the fact that UK Conservative MEPs failed to support the motion. Perhaps they believe it is unacceptable interference in the markets?

Or perhaps George Osborne didn’t want anybody interfering with his apparent long-term plan to sell the UK to China, bit by bit.

If the former assumption is true, then someone should point out to these Tories that there is nothing wrong with defending against a hostile act by another producer – especially if the hostilities could lead to the end of the steel industry in the UK.

That would force this country to buy steel from abroad – and would make us powerless to negotiate a lower price than dictated by the seller. The consequences for the UK economy could be devastating.

Tories seem keen to ignore that.

One wonders why.

UK steelmakers have cheered a European parliament resolution opposing plans that they believe would kill off the industry by permanently opening the floodgates to cheap Chinese steel.

MEPs passed a resolution saying China should not be granted market economy status by Brussels, which could make it harder for officials to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese steel. Brussels is due to make a ruling this year.

But Conservative MEPs came under fire for failing to back the motion, while European steelmakers called on the UK to get behind efforts to strengthen the trade defences available to EU economies.

While the resolution carries no legal weight, steel trade bodies welcomed a move that they said sent a message to politicians that the European steel industry needs protection from China.

Source: UK steel boost as MEPs oppose giving China market economy status | Business | The Guardian

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