Steel: Preserving sustainable jobs and growth in Europe

EESC opinion: Steel: Preserving sustainable jobs and growth in Europe

If the message of this opinion should be summarised in a sentence, this would be: "Enough is enough; rules must be respected".

Steel industry is at the forefront of granting MES to China. However, the opinion does not tackle the legal and political side of granting MES to China (CCMI/144). It focuses on the Commission's communication and puts forward specific additional measures to provide Europe's steel industry with the level playing field it needs to preserve growth and jobs.


Main contribution to the Commission's proposal:

Effectiveness and efficiency of TDI (Trade Defence Instruments) is the core of the opinion, in particular to abolish the "lesser duty rule":

  • A non-standard methodology in anti-dumping and anti- subsidy investigations for China, according to the remainder of Section 15 of the WTO Accession Protocol.
  • The conclusion of the TDI modernisation package to speed up the process and to abolish the "lesser duty rule".
  • The reintroduction of the prior surveillance system for certain steel products.
  • The registration of imports prior to the adoption of provisional measures, in order to retroactively apply definitive antidumping and/or countervailing duties.


Other key areas:

  • OVERCAPACITY of the global partners, China in particular. It demands full transparency with regard to State aid and indirect state support. President Junker stressed this fact as a major impediment in current negotiations.

To be reminded here that the EESC (via the CCMI) had already provided China in 2004 with full know-how of procedures and mechanisms to restructure their steel industry (Plan d'Avignon) and 10 later nothing has been done except multiplying their overproduction.

  • Social aspects: it demands a clear and effective methodology for managing the restructuring process in a socially sustainable way, as well as a roadmap to improve workers' skills in adjusting to new challenges.
  • On State Aid, it asks the Commission to review the current specific rules in order to evaluate the possible inclusion of the steel industry in the general framework.
  • On R&D measures, it requests to take into account the specificities of the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS).
  • On ETS, to strike the right balance between the objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and that of ensuring the competitiveness of European industry.


As first procedural measures the Opinion pleads for :

  • The immediate re-establishment of the High-Level Group on Steel with all stakeholders involved (including all social partners, EIB, technological platforms).
  • To produce a roadmap, to deal with the threats and challenges.
  • To produce a follow-up report in one year's time.