The European Parliament's resolution on Market Economy Status (MES) for China has highlighted the institution's reservations on the subject, a position welcomed by EUROFER, the European Steel Association.
Axel Eggert, director-general of EUROFER, commented: "The message from the European Parliament has been abundantly clear. A significant majority of MEPs do not believe it is the right time to grant China Market economy status. China is not a market economy, and thus cannot be treated as such for the purpose of anti-dumping investigations."
While EUROFER welcomes the European Parliament's resolution, it wants the European Commission to consider more seriously the wider implications of MES on the steel industry, as well as to motivate member states to overcome the blockage in the Council on the modernisation of Europe's Trade Defence Instruments (TDI).
According to EUROFER, China is the largest dumper of steel on to the EU market – by some margin. It claims that 16 of the 37 anti-dumping measures currently in force on steel involve China in some way and says that trade defence measures would be rendered ineffective if MES was granted.
The European Parliament's resolution urges the Council to agree on the modernisation of the EU's TDIs, but because the UK and the Netherlands continue to block the lifting of the Lesser Duty Rule, the European steel industry is 'regularly targeted by unfair trade from third countries'.
"We call on the Dutch presidency, as well as the UK, to take responsibility now and lift the obstruction blocking the creation of more effective TDIs," Eggert said.
Today (13 May) the Foreign Affairs Council meets to discuss trade aspects of the recent Communication on Steel, in which the European Commission urges modernisation of the EU's TDIs.
"Member states are reopening the TDI discussion," said Eggert, adding that the Commission is undertaking efforts to try to upgrade the existing TDI system using the means currently available to it. "However, the wholesale TDI modernisation that is actually needed is firmly in the hands of the members states."
Eggert said that the Council 'urgently needs to make progress on the dossier'. He said that EUROFER hopes the European Parliament resolution 'will spur further development'.