Employers and employees of the European steel industry plan to march through Brussels in protest against the extreme likelihood of China being granted ‘market economy status.

Over 5,000 people are expected to march on 15 February to show support for fair trade, growth and jobs in Europe, according to EUROFER, the European Steel Association.

Director-general Axel Eggert commented, “China is simply not a market economy. It does not yet meet four out of five EU criteria to be considered as such.”

Mr Eggert said that granting China MES prematurely would be economic and political folly. He argued that China’s current over capacity of around 400Mt – almost three times the total EU steel demand of 155Mt – has arisen as a result of persistent state intervention in the Chinese economy.

Marchers are expected for over 15 EU member states. “They will be joining thousands of employees, employers and trade union representatives from the heights of European industry,” said Eggert, adding that the occasion will ‘strike at the heart’ of the challenges facing the European steel industry.

According to Eggert, dumped products from China have a much larger environmental footprint (roughly 50% greater) than equivalents produced in the EU. He said that they undermine the objectives of the EU ETS to reduce CO2 emissions.

“The current Commission proposal on the EU ETS post 2020 must guarantee that it does not lead to costs which are not borne by our global competitors, at least at the level of the most efficient plants in Europe,” said Eggert.