Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the UK Steel Association
UK GOVERNMENT ATTITUDE
In UK Steel's belief and experience, the UK
Government has for many years (dating from when Nicholas Ridley
was Secretary of State at the DTI) maintained a presumption against
the imposition of anti-dumping duties. This presumption derives
at least partly from an ideological belief held by many officials
in both the DTI and Treasury that any interference with free trade
flows is an infinitely worse evil than refusing to provide temporary
support to embattled manufacturers. This attitude is in stark
contrast to that of the US Government, which rigorously exerts
its WTO rights to "discipline" dumped steel, and to
the more balanced approach of the European Commission.
This ideological bias can manifest itself in
many ways. Most common are: the UK's second guessing of the Commission's
findings on injury, with the UK adopting higher injury standards
than those of the Commission and WTO; and using the "Community
interest" clause in the anti-dumping regulation to give greater
weighting to the interests of consumers over those of local producers.
It is difficult to provide hard documentary
evidence of this bias, as it is based on impressions gained during
discussions with many officials over a long periodmany
of them informal and off-the-record. The best evidence we believe
lies with HMG's voting record in the EU's Anti-Dumping Committee.
In the three cases in which UK Steel has been most directly involved
over the past two years, the UK voted as follows:
Stainless wire from IndiaThe UK voted
in favour of countervailing duties, but against anti-dumping duties,
even though the facts in respect of injury and Community interest
were identical. This was a clear indication that anti-subsidy
measures were ideologically more acceptable than anti-dumping
Hot rolled coil from Bulgaria, India, Iran, South
Africa, Taiwan and YugoslaviaEven though the minister accepted
that the steel industry was being injured by these dumped and
(in some cases) subsidised imports, the UK voted against duties.
This was because the Commission and other Member States were not
prepared to accept the UK's argument that duties only be applied
for one year, as opposed to the normal practice of five years
(as laid down in the EU regulation and WTO agreement).
Hot rolled plate from India, China, and RomaniaAgain,
officials were prepared to accept that there had been injury caused
by these dumped imports, but concentrated in the most recent months.
The UK abstained. Such is the UK's reputation on anti-dumping
matters in the EU, that an abstention is often regarded as success
by domestic producers!
Fortunately, in all these cases there was majority
support for duties, and measures are now in place.
Recycling and the CCL
GROWTH/DECLINE IN THE PROPORTION OF EAF STEELMAKING
IN EU AS A PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL STEEL PRODUCTION
Notes: Proportion of EAF Steelmaking has declined in the
UK and increased in EU.
*Corrected for EU15.