Britain’s steelmakers are urging the Prime Minister to raise the issue of the dumping of under-priced steel with the Chinese Premier during his visit to Britain this week. The call comes on the back of a tide of job losses in the steel sector, the closure of SSI and speculation surrounding further cuts at Tata steel.
According to UK Steel, the price of Chinese steel has been consistently below market rates with an excess capacity in 2014 of 340 million tonnes, more than double the EU’s annual steel demand of 155 million tonnes.
Commenting, UK Steel Director, Gareth Stace, said:
“If the worst is confirmed with further job losses in the steel industry, I would hope the Prime Minister would use the opportunity of this week’s visit to raise the issue of Chinese dumping of steel. As well as reinforcing the need for the EU to tackle unfair dumping of steel across Europe, Mr Cameron’s intervention would send a powerful signal to Beijing that he is prepared to stand up for British steelmakers.
“If the Prime Minister can make headway on this, and the Business Secretary can act quickly to tackle spiralling energy costs by compensating the industry for the various levies that penalise it, we may start to give the steel industry some confidence that the Government is supporting it before it’s too late.”
Chinese excess steel capacity in 2014 was approximately 340 million tonnes – more than double the EU’s annual steel demand (155 million tonnes) and almost 30 times higher than the UK’s annual steel production in 2014 (12.1 million tonnes)
Chinese finished steel exports worldwide have surged by 53% from 58 million tonnes in 2013 to 89 million tonnes in 2014 and are already up 29% in the first half 2015, heading towards over 100 million tonnes this year – nearly doubling in the last two years
UK imports of Chinese basic steel products have soared – up 23% year-on-year in the first 7 months of 2015 and up 129% compared to this period in 2013
The price of Chinese imports has consistently been below that of the market average. For example, looking at the import prices of Chinese rebar, in 2015 they were £309 compared to an average of £322.