Policy makers “must stand their ground” on Market Economy Status at EU-China summit

euroferlogoBrussels, 12 July 2016 – Ahead of the EU-China summit taking place from Wednesday 13 July in Beijing, the European Steel Association (EUROFER) urges policy makers to resist calls from China to prematurely grant the country Market Economy Status (MES).

The European steel industry asks national policy makers to make it clear to the European Commission that they cannot grant MES so long as the country does not meet the necessary criteria. China is not a market economy and the country does not meet its WTO commitments.

Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER said, “In accordance with the remaining provisions of Section 15 of China’s WTO Accession Protocol after 11 December 2016, the EU must continue to use a methodology which does not use Chinese prices and costs in anti-dumping investigations of imports from China.”

“Any use of Chinese prices and costs in EU anti-dumping investigations after 11 December 2016 can take place only upon a properly substantiated request by Chinese producers, clearly demonstrating that they operate under market economy conditions.”

Mr Eggert emphasised, “It is astonishing that the EU is putting itself on the defensive on the issue of MES, when it is clear that the ball is in China’s court. China must make progress towards its WTO commitments, work on reducing the massive overcapacities in a number of sectors, and make substantive progress towards market economy norms.”

“The EU must maintain effective trade defence instruments in order not to put at risk millions of jobs as well as tens of billions of euros in annual investment. They must stand their ground and not submit to pressure from the Chinese government to adopt this damaging and unnecessary MES policy, particularly as China is not meeting its own obligations”, added Mr Eggert.

Notable commitments that China made on joining the WTO in 2001 include the promises that prices in every sector should be determined by market forces, that all subsidies should be notified to the WTO and prohibited subsidies should be eliminated, and that State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) become able to operate free of State influence.

“We look forward to China making progress towards meeting its WTO commitments and becoming a bona fide market economy”, concluded Mr Eggert

About the European Steel Association (EUROFER)

EUROFER is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.

About the European steel industry

The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 320,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 170 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 24 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.

Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material, steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and fostering sustainable development in Europe.

WTO Commitments

A list of 10 commitments that China made upon its accession to the WTO can be found: here