…and why the answers don’t matter
Steelworkers’ union Community is releasing the top 10 questions that the Chinese government delegation visiting the UK should be asked about China’s steel industry.
Commenting on the questions, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:
“It’s no surprise that everybody wants to ask China about steel but it’s now becoming a distraction. If I had the opportunity, these are the questions I would ask them. But I’d be surprised if I’d get many answers. The fact is that China chooses to play by different rules when it comes to steelmaking just as it applies different rules to human rights. Steelworkers know this and that’s why it makes them sick to see state banquets for Chinese dignitaries when their jobs are under threat.
“When it comes to saving the UK steel industry, the views of the Chinese government are inconsequential. At the moment, the UK doesn’t even operate on a level playing field within Europe, let alone when compared with the Chinese. So what matters is what the UK government plans to do. Of course that means action to stop dumping of Chinese steel. But it also means bringing forward the full compensation package for energy intensive industries to offset the increased energy costs they face because of government policies. We have the capacity within the UK to save our steel. What we need for it to happen is the political will.”
1. When will China declare its steel production figures in a transparent way?
2. How much of the Chinese steel industry is operating at a loss?
3. Is it China’s strategy to destroy Europe’s industry so it can increase its exports?
4. By how much does the Chinese state subsidise its steel producers?
5. Why would China invest in UK infrastructure if there was no opportunity for Chinese steel producers to benefit?
6. Can they confirm the figure the President mentioned in the Downing Street press conference in terms of the reduction in China’s steel capacity?
7. What is the average emissions in CO2 per tonne for Chinese steel and when will the Chinese government report on steel production emissions in line with members of the World Steel Association?
8. The UK imported 254,000 metric tons of Chinese rebar in 2014, up from zero in 2012. The Chinese traditionally have never sold rebar in the EU because the cost of transport alone would normally make this uncompetitive – how has this changed?
9. Some UK producers and consumers of steel have expressed serious concerns about Chinese steel producers deliberately adding alloying elements, such as boron and chromium, into their steel reinforcement bar, in order to gain a Chinese Government tax rebate of 9-13%. The most common addition that has been observed has been boron and its addition has no positive benefits to rebar. Boron can cause severe welding failure and this has been observed in current live construction projects. Is the delegation aware of this practice and what is China doing to stop it?
10. What is the Chinese government’s view of concerns that UK construction industry has about the quality of its products?
1. Community is the largest and leading trade union in the steel industry.
2. For more media information, contact Callum Munro on 07821250904 or Matt Ball on 07799772250.