The European Commission announced plans on Wednesday 16 March, to speed up trade defence cases against cheap imports from China. The Commission urged member states to stop blocking measures that could set higher import duties against dumped and subsidised products.
In proposals specifically targeted to protect the steel sector, the Commission said it would try to reduce the period it takes from the launch of an investigation to the imposition of import tariffs. At nine months the steel industry says is too long.
Britain, France and Germany are among the countries which have asked the Commission to help the steel industry, which is suffering from an import surge from China in particular at cheap prices.
Some 4,000 British jobs ins were lost in October 2015 alone, equivalent to about a fifth of the sector’s workforce. The head of Britain’s largest steelmaker, Tata Steel Europe, has said it is impossible to compete with China when Beijing intervenes to subsidise loss-making plants.