New EU law designed to protect steel jobs in Scunthorpe 'must be included in UK trade law post-Brexit'

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 28 Nov 2017

Action taken by the European Union aimed at protecting jobs in the steel industry, including in Scunthorpe, has been welcomed by the leader of the Labour group on North Lincolnshire Council.

A new EU law designed to stop steel being "dumped" from China was signed off on Wednesday, November 15.

It came in response to steel from China being sold at artificially low prices, putting pressure on jobs in the UK steel industry.

Councillor Len Foster said it was now important to ensure the new regulations would be included in UK trade law after the country's withdrawal from the EU and called for long-term security for British Steel to be a primary consideration for politicians both locally and nationally.

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Mr Foster said: "Labour and the unions have long campaigned for a level playing field so we can compete fairly. The UK government has been one of the main obstacles to EU action, but pressure from other steel producing counties helped push the new law through.

The British Steel works in Scunthorpe

"Worryingly, there’s no clarity yet on whether UK trade law post-Brexit will include these new provisions.

"The UK steel industry has faced a number of challenges in recent years through a combination of rising steel prices, an influx of cheap Chinese steel and spiralling energy costs. The impact of this was strongly felt in Scunthorpe.

"It's hopeful that for once, the Tories in Brussels voted the progressive way, backing new laws to strengthen the criteria of what constitutes unfair trade practices, but will they now follow this up and back stronger action against countries that dump imports onto UK markets post Brexit?

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"At the present time indications are not encouraging, with recent comments from Liam Fox less than supportive of any form of long term protective import restrictions.

"Steel is the life blood of our local community and everything must be done to protect our industry and with less than 18 months before we leave the EU, long term security for British Steel must be the primary consideration for national and local politicians."

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