Steel Industry At 'Breaking Point' As It Calls For Europe-Wide Help

18 October 2016

Bosses of Europe’s biggest steel companies have demanded support for the industry in a hard-hitting open letter to heads of state and governments across Europe.

Signatories of the letter include chiefs of international businesses including Tata, ArcelorMittal, ThyssenKrupp and Voestalpine. Together they used the letter to signal that the 320,000 jobs in the European steel industry are at risk unless action is taken.

The open letter challenges EU leaders to “do what it takes to preserve our sector” and warns that action is needed on three key issues that steel bosses say “could make or break our industry”.

The situation has resulted in mass redundancies in the steel sector in the UK over the past two years as companies are unable to compete. Tata has shed thousands of roles and is trying to sell large chunks of its UK business, while SSI and Caparo both collapsed into administration.

The 58 steel leaders who signed the letter say they want to see China’s market economy status revisited, expressing worries over Beijing’s backing for many of its steel producers.

Steel producers want the EU to copy America’s tough stance on hitting imports of Chinese steel with punitive trade tariffs. The US has imposed levies of more than 500pc in some cases, while the EU has been much slower to act and when it does, the tariffs have been just a fraction of the level put in place by America.

“EU trade defence instruments are very slow to deploy, compared to our trade partners,” the letter said, adding their “effectiveness… is uncertain, producing measures which are significantly below the calculated size of the dumping, often less than a 10th of US measures.”

As a final boost to the sector, the steel bosses say the industry should not face environmental measures whose costs are “beyond economic and technological feasibility”.

The EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) to control pollution is the “largest and most ambitious in the world”, according to the steel industry, which is committed to CO2 reductions and is developing low carbon technology.

However, the letter adds that there is a need for a “reformed ETS that is fair and achieveable”, noting that foreign rivals do not face the same pressures.


Source :