To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what assessment he has made of the effect that China's potential Market Economy Status will have on the UK steel industry; and when he last met the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to discuss that matter.
27 January 2016
My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues, EU Commissioners and EU counterparts about a range of issues, including Market Economy Status (MES) for China. He most recently discussed trade aspects of the steel industry with Trade Commissioner Malmstrom on 20 January.
We are awaiting a European Commission proposal on granting MES. We understand that the Commission will also be undertaking a detailed assessment of the economic impacts of granting MES as part of their consideration of this issue. We will examine any proposal and assessment carefully. The Prime Minister has previously stated that he will make the case for China to be granted MES but China will need to show that it is committed to becoming more open as it becomes more prosperous. In considering the Commission’s proposal it will be important to consider the wider trade and international political context including compliance with international commitments. If China is granted MES, the Commission will still be able to pursue anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases and impose measures where evidence of dumping or subsidy is found.
The government is strongly in favour of effective trade defences to tackle unfair trade practices. The Government voted in favour of anti-dumping measures on steel products in July and November and lobbied successfully for an investigation into re-bar. The Government is also pushing for faster, more effective action to deal with dumping of steel: this was one of the conclusions of the Extraordinary Competitiveness Council on Steel in November. The Secretary of State also raised the issue with the Trade Commissioner.
The Government is playing an active role in the European Commission’s steel stakeholder’s conference summit on 15 February and is supporting a robust discussion of the issue of overcapacity through the EU’s ongoing dialogue with the Chinese.