The European Commission has presented today a Communication setting out how the short-term and long-term challenges of the EU steel sector can be addressed with the support of Member States and the EU institutions. A joint effort is needed to overcome serious challenges fuelled by global overcapacity, a dramatic increase of exports and an unprecedented wave of unfair trading practices. High energy costs and changing market conditions require energy-intensive industries to adapt and innovate to ensure their long-term competitiveness and sustainability. The Commission is taking and will continue to take action to accompany that process. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “We must do more to help the steel sector and other energy-intensive industries adapt, innovate and compete on the basis of quality, cutting-edge technology, efficient production and a highly skilled workforce. We now have a record level of anti-dumping measures on steel products in place and the Commission is determined to restore a global level playing field. We will take steps to further streamline our procedures but Member States must also act together and urgently adopt our legislative proposal to modernise EU trade defence instruments and make fairer trade a reality.” In addition to the ongoing efforts and measures already taken by the Commission, the Communication “Steel: Preserving sustainable jobs and growth in Europe” calls on the Parliament and Council to urgently move on the trade defence modernisation proposal put forward in 2013, indicates the Commission’s readiness to propose further legislative action quickly to speed up the overall procedure for trade defence measures and modify the use of the lesser duty rule, and invites stakeholders to provide input on whether and how the EU should change the treatment of China in anti-dumping investigations after December 2016. To guarantee the long-term competitiveness and sustainability of energy-intensive industries like steel, the Commission stands ready to give targeted advice to industry and Member States to make sure that state aid and EU funding possibilities are fully exploited. A read-out by First Vice–President Frans Timmermansof today’s College meeting is taking place today and can be followed live on EbS. A press release and a memo are available online.
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