In the fight against cheap steel from China, German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) is proposing a ‘climate MOT’ for imported products: “At the level of the World Trade Organization there are forms of certification, for example, where the environment, nature or health are at risk. I can imagine a similar certification for steel products, a kind of `climate MOT` for steelmaking, Gabriel told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday.
“The basic idea: Only those are allowed onto the European market who comply with the same standards that we meet in the EU.” Gabriel called on the EU to adopt a tougher stance in the dispute with China over cheap steel. “We have been calling on the European Commission for months to take effective anti-dumping measures, ie to negotiate with China – and if China is not cooperative, to impose anti-dumping duties,” Gabriel told the newspaper.
“I believe that the European Commission is too scared. The United States has adopted its anti-dumping measures within three months. It takes us more than nine months for similar steps. The end result: “What China can no longer export to the US is shifted into Europe.” Gabriel demanded “clarity with regard to China, but no kowtowing” and added: “.. Nobody wants a trade war with China, but we cannot sacrifice the German steel industry for trade with China” The EU Commission must confidently represent European interests and negotiate with China on an equal footing.
“We cannot allow that open markets are abused.” With regards to plans by the EU Commission the strengthen emission trading, Gabriel demanded protection of the steel industry from further obligations. “The whole CO2 trading scheme is currently being renegotiated in Europe. It must remain clear that the steel industry is exempt from any further obligations,” said Gabriel. “The same should apply for other energy-intensive industries. We must prevent that CO2 emissions are simply shifted to other countries in the world. I will not agree to any proposal by the Commission which does not include such guarantee.”