Brussels, 22 September 2016 – The European Steel Association (EUROFER) today called upon member states to make another push to break through the impasse on the modernisation of the EU’s Trade Defence Instruments (TDIs). The call comes ahead of an Informal Meeting of Trade Ministers in the Foreign Affairs Council at which priorities such as TDI modernisation, Market Economy Status for China (MES), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are on the menu.
“EU trade policy is facing a range of challenges, such as unfair trade from a number of our trading partners and public reservations about free trade agreements such as TTIP and CETA”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER. “However, we must not be naïve free traders: member states must act forcefully to shore up our defences against dumping from third countries and demonstrate the strength of their convictions that closer trade relations with market economy driven countries – such as the USA and Canada – will contribute significantly to the prosperity of the European Union and its citizens.”
At the meeting Ministers will discuss TTIP, CETA, and TDI modernisation. They will also explore how to handle China’s demand to be granted MES. No decisions are expected but early indications suggest that the Slovak Presidency is working to build a framework to help advance these dossiers.
Mr Eggert said, “On TDI modernisation there is now a real opportunity for progress, particularly on the lifting of the Lesser Duty Rule (LDR) and on the target profit margin calculation. Both are solutions that would make it possible to levy duties that are more effective, though the lifting of the LDR is the more favourable option. Other parts of the TDI modernisation package would make anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases faster and more efficient to implement. Improved EU trade defence measures will send the right signal: that our partners must abide by the rules of free and fair international trade.”
The question about whether to grant MES to China is the other top dossier for the European steel industry. China is demanding a change to the EU’s anti-dumping methodology based on claims about certain provisions in its WTO accession protocol.
“China must first fulfil the requirements to be considered a market economy before it can reasonably make such a claim. To date, China only fulfils one out of the five well-established EU criteria. Importantly, the country does not have an economy in which the market determines prices – one of the most basic elements in determining eligibility for MES status,” concluded Mr Eggert. “These criteria must form part of any EU legislation establishing a new anti-dumping methodology.”
The Informal Meeting of Trade Ministers in the Foreign Affairs Council will take place on 23 September in Bratislava.
About the European Steel Association (EUROFER)
EUROFER is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.
About the European steel industry
The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 320,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 170 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 24 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.
Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material, steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and fostering sustainable development in Europe.