- February 24, 2016
- Posted by: David Rees AM
- Category: Latest News
In support of our Steel Industry, last week I went to Brussels to meet with EU officials, Derek Vaughan MEP and attend a high level conference discussing energy intensive industries within Europe.
I went to the Directorate-Generals (departments) which had a direct relationship with actions that could be taken by the EU, through the UK government, to protect/support our steel workers:
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs;
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion;…
and also met with UK Government representatives to the EU.
Discussions centred on anti-dumping measures against cheap imports of steel (including why we have two different rates that can be applied in such case) – including why there are 2 different tariffs that could be imposed which may allow measures to be put into place that could still result in cheaper imports (seems UK Government not happy to stick with just one like the US); support for workers who are made redundant through the Globalisation Adjustrment Fund (which the UK must submit an application for if it wishes to access funding – or agree for devolved nations to do so) and its impact upon the UK’s rebate from the EU; trade relationships with other nations – China in particular – including the role of the EU in approving Market Economy Status for China; State aid rules on the Steel Industry and how they can be changed – including why there is a need for a UK wide business rate relief system for Steel plants;
These provided detailed information on factors impacting upon our steel industry and current actions that are being taken and which could be helpful if actioned. Information identified that there are currently 37 trade defense instruments agreed on Steel at the moment – 4 of which are provisional and put into place this year including on cold-rolled flat steel – and 9 under ongoing investigations into dumping of steel, including on hot-rolled flat steel.
Discussions with Derek Vaughan highlighted actions he and fellow MEPs have been taking on supporting our steel industry and how they will use the European Parliament to that end.
UKRep discussed the current actions being taken by UK Government and their working relationship within the EU on these.
The clear message coming from the conference was that if the EU wished to maintain such industries in the face of such global challenges that include duimping of cheap products into the market place, then it must act quickly to protect thos industries with steel being at the fore. TATA & Celsa were both represented at that event.
Since returning I have met with the Minister for Economy, Science & Transport to pursue these points within Wales.