IndustriAll Europe welcomed the statements from Vice President Commissioner Katainen and Commissioner Malmstrom on just and fair measures to protect the European steel industry and its workers.
These steel communities have already suffered significant restructuring and heavy job losses following various crises and geo-political events: the petroleum crisis, the fall of the Berlin wall, numerous company mergers, the global financial crisis, global competition and the dumping of cheap steel.
The sector is only now managing to get back on its feet. With increased pressures such as ETS and accessing clean and affordable energy, the European sector faces enough challenges without a potential trade war being thrown into the mix!
IndustriAll Europe supports the EU in taking fair and just action and calls for immediate market surveillance and crucial safeguard measures to be put in place. We must protect our industries and our workers.
The European steel and aluminium industries produce high quality products and we should be proud of leading the way in social protection, social dialogue and workers’ rights. This sets us apart from the rest of the world.
Here in Europe, we play by the rules. We respect international trade law and we have fought hard for EU trade defence measures in line with WTO rules.
Trump’s excuse about the national security of the USA, is just that, an excuse. High quality European steel and aluminium poses no threat to the USA’s national security.
The real issue facing American metal workers is global overcapacity, with third countries overproducing steel and aluminium and driving down their prices through both non-market conditions and the absence of real labour rights.
There is no overcapacity in European or American production and our workers should not bear the brunt of third countries’ unfair trade practices.
A global trade war has no winners, only losers. Thousands of workers in Europe and the USA will lose out. We want the EU to take fair and just action, in line with WTO rules, to protect our workers and our industries.
The European steel and aluminium industries produce high quality products while abiding by WTO trade rules. We therefore demand that the EU is exempted from these unfair tariffs.
We must work together to stop the real issue at hand- global overcapacity. We need real commitment and transparency from all countries to find a permanent solution to stop global overcapacity and we call on the EU to continue to add political pressure on international platforms.
As European trade unionists, we will work together with our sister organisation, industriALL Global, and the United Steel Workers to demand fair international trade and the end of unfair dumping of cheap steel.
Nationalist and protectionist measures are not the answer and a trade war will benefit no one.
On 1 March 2018, US President Trump announced his intention to impose import duties of 10% on aluminum and 25% on steel from the EU. This is following the US Department of Commerce’s report on the Section 232 investigation regarding the effect of imported steel on US national security.
However, as the US Secretary of Defence has also stated that the US military requires approximately 3% of US steel production, any national security justification appears to be very weak.
The European steel market is in recovery but still suffers from high levels of steel imports, 40 million tonnes in 2017, despite multiple EU trade defence measures.