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Steel workers march for EU action

Monday, February 15, 2016 - 01:40

Steel workers from across Europe converge on Brussels to call for the EU to act to save their beleaguered industry. As Grace Pascoe reports, the main target for their anger is China.

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Enough is enough for these steel workers. They're marching in Brussels against cheap Chinese imports. Which, they say, are swamping Europe. Destroying jobs and the environment. Welsh steel worker, Scott Bamsey. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WELSH STEEL INDUSTRY WORKER AND TATA STEEL PORT TALBOT EMPLOYEE, SCOTT BAMSEY, SAYING: "The Chinese dumping of steel in Europe is crippling us and it's not a level playing field and until we put tariffs on Chinese steel to make a level-playing field then we haven't got a chance, really." 5,000 protesters, including industry bosses, handed their demands to the European Commission President. Later this year they must decide whether or not to grant China market economy status. Which critics say would allow China to dump products at unfairly low prices in Europe. Putting, they claim, up to 3.5 million jobs at risk. Simon French is from Panmure Gordon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PANMURE GORDON, CHIEF ECONOMIST, SIMON FRENCH, SAYING: "What European Union economic leaders need to think about is, is there a future for steel production in the European Union? And if there is within the confines of what state support can be provided, they should look to support the industry. If however this is part of the structural shift away from heavy manufacturing in Europe towards lower cost jurisdictions, then actually part of the productivity and growth struggle in Europe needs to acknowledge that fact, deal with its consequences and invest very much where the comparative advantage economically exists within the European Union, which is disproportionally in the services sector rather than in the manufacturing sector." The European Commission have already opened three anti-dumping investigations into Chinese steel products.

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Steel workers march for EU action

Monday, February 15, 2016 - 01:40