Following hot on the heels of the release of a statement by nine steel associations from around the world warning about the dangers of granting China ‘market economy status’, the European Steel Association (EUROFER) has teamed up with the industriALL union to call for action on the crisis affecting the steel industry.

EUROFER and the industriALL union want policy makers to take action and ward off further job losses.

According to EUROFER, around 5,000 jobs have been lost in the past month and there is a real and present threat to Europe’s 330,000 steelworkers, a headcount down 85,000 since 2008.

Bart Samyn, deputy secretary general of industriALL, said that ministers must understand that job losses are happening now and that layoffs are a direct consequence of the regulatory burden at EU and member state levels, and in particular due to the dumping of Chinese steel on the EU market.

EUROFER’s director-general Axel Eggert, said the EU needs to adapt its trade, climate and energy policies and review the EU Emission Trading Scheme in order to keep the steel sector competitive. “Best performers in carbon leakage sectors like steel must not be penalized by additional direct or indirect carbon costs against extra-EU competitors,” said Eggert, adding “Our goal is for policy makers to do whatever it takes to keep this innovative, strategic industry in Europe.”

EUROFER claims that Chinese exports have ‘exploded’ to 110Mt this year and have doubled over the past two years. It says that the EU must speed up the deployment of its trade defence instruments in order to safeguard steel industry jobs.

EUROFER and industriALL also warns member states about granting market economy status to China when it does not meet the technical criteria to be considered a market economy. Such a move, say both organisations, ‘would be devastating for a number of manufacturing sectors in the EU’ as the possibility to impose anti-dumping measures on cheap Chinese imports would largely disappear.

“Once these jobs have disappeared, they are gone forever,” said Eggert.