World Economy

Call for EU Action on Steel

Call for EU Action on SteelCall for EU Action on Steel

Seven countries including France, Britain and Germany have urged the European Union to step up action to relieve an ailing steel industry suffering from tumbling prices and cheap imports from China and Russia.

Ministers from the three countries, along with Italy, Poland, Belgium and Luxembourg, sent a joint letter on Friday to the European Commission and the chair of the EU Council of Ministers.

“The European steel industry—already weakened by the 2008 economic crisis—is tackling chronic use of unfair trade practices in a context of strong international competition intensified by overcapacity at a global level,” they wrote in the letter, initiated by French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and seen by Reuters on Saturday.

“The European Union cannot remain passive when rising job losses and steelwork closures show that there is a significant and impending risk of collapse in the European steel sector.”

The EU is the second-largest producer of steel in the world after China. It makes over 177 million tons a year, accounting for 11% of global output, according to EU data.

Europe has lost 85,000 steel jobs since 2008, over 20% of the workforce, according to the industry body Eurofer, as prices crashed to decade lows due to overcapacity, shrinking demand and a flood of cheap imports, mostly from China.