Fresh calls to tackle steel crisi after US hikes tariff on Chinese imports

Workers protesting outsideTata Steel in Port Talbot, South Wales after the company announced plans t

Workers protesting outsideTata Steel in Port Talbot, South Wales after the company announced plans to sell up its UK operations. - Credit: PA

The Government is coming under fresh pressure to tackle the crisis in the steel industry after the United States doubled a tariff against steel imports from China.

Trade body UK Steel said the increase from 266% to 522% on cold-rolled steel showed that the US had realised the problem with cheap Chinese steel being dumped and imposed “effective and robust” trade barriers.

Director Gareth Stace said: “The EU has been slower and the result is we’re still haggling over tariffs and action to prevent unfairly traded Chinese steel.

“Britain and the EU need to stop treading on egg shells and take decisive action following America’s impressive lead.

“China has promised to work to tackle global oversupply but, instead, continues to dump cheap steel on the world market. If any demonstration were needed that China isn’t accepting its responsibility to work with the rest of the world steel industry to address this problem then this is it.”

The EU has imposed provisional tariffs on China of 16% for cold-rolled steel, products which are made in the UK by Tata, which is selling its UK assets, including the giant plant at Port Talbot in south Wales.

Steelworkers are staging a march in central London next week to keep up pressure on the Government and Tata over the sale.

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A Business Department spokesman said: “The UK has been at the forefront of pressing the Commission to take fast and effective action to tackle unfair trading practices, and this government has gone far further than previous governments in voting for tariffs on steel dumping.

“But it’s important for tariffs to be set at the right level, based on clear evidence provided by industry of unfair trade. To date, EU measures have been very effective in curtailing Chinese imports, in many cases, by more than 90%.”