Posted: Wed 19th Oct 2016

Steel Industry back in focus at the Senedd today

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Oct 19th, 2016

The National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee is holding a meeting at the Senedd in Cardiff today to look at developments in the steel industry .

Ahead of the meeting – which will include evidence sessions from steel bosses, employers’ unions and First Minister Carwyn Jones AM – the Chair of the Committee Russell George AM, said:

“At the start of this year, the future of steel in Wales was one of the most prominent issues in Welsh politics.

In April, less than a month before the Welsh election, the Assembly was even recalled during recess to discuss developments in the steel industry.

“Since the election, there has been a marked drop in public discussion of the industry. As a committee we were keen to shine a light on what has happened since then, and whether the urgency and spirit of cooperation that characterised the initial reaction to job losses at Tata Steel in Port Talbot has continued.

“Today’s meeting will hear from the employers, employees and First Minister Carwyn Jones. The committee has also written detailed questions to UK Government Minister Nick Hurd to hear how he is taking on the issues, since he became the Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry.

“Steel remains a vital component of Wales’ economy, and following the appointment of a new Government in Cardiff Bay and new Ministers in Westminster over the summer, the committee wants to ensure that momentum has not been lost.

Our predecessors on the Enterprise and Business Committee called for concerted action on energy costs, business rates, procurement, tariffs on foreign steel – I look forward to exploring whether action has been delivered, and whether it has been sufficient to provide some medium term certainty to the industry.”

Open letter by 58 CEOs of the European steel industry

58 European steel industry CEOs write to EU Heads of State and government
Brussels, 17 October 2016 – 58 of the most senior executives from the European steel industry have addressed EU leaders with a clear message: “Make the right choices to ensure that our sector and its value chains flourish, investment continues, and the jobs of the men and women who work in our sector are sustained.”

This call comes ahead of the European Council summit of 20-21 October 2016, towards the end of a year that has seen the European steel industry under continued pressure. Notably, EU leaders will discuss the modernisation of Europe’s Trade Defence Instruments, which the European steel industry has consistently pushed for.

The Open Letter highlights the steel industry’s challenges, and calls on EU policy makers to develop more effective, faster measures to re-establish fair trade, to align with the US on the Market Economy Status of China, and build an EU ETS that creates no cost burden beyond economic and technological feasibility.

The letter says;

We, the undersigned CEOs of the EU steel industry, are writing to you ahead of the European Council meeting on 20-21 October.

During this meeting, you will be taking decisions that could help preserve an innovative, sustainable, and globally competitive steel industry in Europe. Making the right choices should ensure that our sector and its value chains flourish, investment continues, and the jobs of the men and women who work in our sector are sustained.

We ask for your support on a number of issues that could make or break our industry:

Market Economy Status of China: Alignment with the US
A revised EU anti-dumping regulation which includes the EU’s five market economy criteria, with the burden of proof in dumping cases staying with exporters to the EU. We believe the EU’s anti-dumping methodology should be closely aligned with the non-standard methodology applied by the US.

Trade Defence: More effective, faster measures to re-establish fair trade
EU Trade Defence Instruments are very slow to deploy, compared to our trade partners’. In addition, the effectiveness of the EU anti-dumping instrument is uncertain, producing measures which are significantly below the calculated size of the dumping, often less than a tenth of US measures.

The EU is the only major region to systematically apply the Lesser Duty Rule (LDR). Under certain conditions it must be possible to lift the LDR. These conditions must be achievable and workable, accompanied by a duty calculation based on improved injury margins.

Emissions Trading: No cost burden beyond economic and technological feasibility
The EU Emissions Trading System is the largest and most ambitious carbon market in the world. The European steel industry is committed to CO2 reductions and is working hard to develop low carbon technologies.

However, we need a reformed EU ETS that is fair and achievable. At present, the proposed EU ETS beyond 2020 creates costs for European steelmakers that are not borne by our global competitors. This risks jobs and investment in European steel. We need an EU ETS that changes how steel is made, not where it is made.

We trust that you can make progress on the above issues so that steel will be able to contribute to the transition to a competitive, low carbon European economy.

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