Today’s EU Competitiveness Council must address China's Market Economy Status

Brussels, 09 November 2015 -  AEGIS Europe, the manufacturing sector initiative which brings together 30 European industry associations, warned that the Competitiveness Council meeting today to discuss bolstering the European steel sector's competitiveness may avoid a central issue on China: its Market Economy Status (MES).

"The European Commission is currently considering whether the EU should offer up Market Economy Status to China; and with it, European jobs and future growth potential. This is despite the fact that China does not meet even the EU's key criteria to be considered a market economy,” explained Milan Nitzschke, spokesperson for AEGIS Europe. 

AEGIS members are leaders in sustainable manufacturing and account for more than €500 billion in annual turnover and millions of jobs across the EU.  AEGIS Europe notes that the greatest challenge facing the steel industry – and most manufacturers in Europe – is unfair trade orchestrated by the Chinese state.  The People's Republic of China readily admits to extensive government direction of the Chinese steel industry, as well as “'severe' overcapacity" in this and many other sectors overseen by 5 year plans.  

"It is time for the EU to have a joined-up coherent trade defence strategy towards China.  Each time a factory closes in Europe our manufacturing base is weakened in China’s favour. The UK should not only call for anti-dumping measures to prevent their steel industries being wiped out by China but also for the EU to refuse China Market Economy Status until the country meets the EU's criteria. Otherwise EU anti-dumping measures will be rendered useless as of December 2016,” explained Inès Van Lierde, Chair of AEGIS.

If the EU grants China Market Economy Status, Europe would be flooded by dumped Chinese imports, potentially causing millions of job losses and severely damaging the EU's industrial base.

“It is impossible for sectors based in a European market economy to compete with state-sponsored dumping and export subsidies.  China should be on top of the agenda for any EU meeting discussing industrial competiveness or trade policy. EU Member States must stand together to keep growth and jobs in Europe in the face of unfair trade from China,” concluded Nitzschke.


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Natalia Kurop

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