Steelmakers demand EU action to stop China dumping output in Europe

UK steelmakers are demanding that business secretary Sajid Javid presses for an immediate halt to dumping of Chinese steel at a crunch Brussels summit today.

The steel industry is buckling under a full-blown crisis amid an influx of cheap Chinese steel imports, which is intensifying pressure from high energy costs and onerous taxes, reports The Telegraph.

Almost 5,000 British jobs have been lost at Tata Steel, SSI and Caparo Industries in recent weeks, as the sector fights for survival. The Sunday Telegraph revealed that Tata’s problems are so acute that it is demanding suppliers cut prices by 30pc.

The crisis is threatening to spread even further, amid reports that Sheffield Forgemasters, the maker of the Iraqi “super gun”, is seeking external investment to bolster its finances.

Steelmakers hope today’s crisis talks in Brussels will see co-ordinated action to stop China’s state-backed steel-makers flooding Europe with excess production as the Chinese economy slows.

The meeting – called by Business Secretary Sajid Javid – will see the minister come together with his European counterparts to discuss how to tackle mounting problems.

Trade body UK Steel is demanding the EU acts quickly and decisively to block Chinese steel imports.

“The US and other countries have already moved to prevent cheap Chinese imports distorting their markets and now the EU must do the same – and quickly,” said Gareth Stace, director of UK Steel.

“The UK must seize the moment and encourage a rapid response in Brussels if we’re to prevent large scale problems for steelmakers spreading in Britain and across Europe.”

UK Steel criticised the EU’s slow action in tackling the issue, claiming it can take a year to enact measures, compared with just weeks in the US.

Even high-end steel businesses such as Forgemasters, which make parts for Roll-Royce’s nuclear reactors found in Royal Navy submarines, are being hit by the crisis.