The ceramic industry is calling for swift government action to prevent dumped Chinese imports damaging the sector.
New customs rules are needed to create a level playing field to prevent unfair imports from state-distorted economies flooding the market and damaging British manufacturing.
A report published by the International Trade Committee has raised questions over the Government’s ability to set up a Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) prior to the UK’s departure from the EU in March 2019.
This critical committee, due to be established in the Government’s Trade and Customs Bills, will create procedures for trade defence investigations and recommend the imposition of trade defence measures (TDMs). But the lack of time and detail on the establishment of the TRA is causing alarm.
Dr Laura Cohen, Chief Executive of the British Ceramic Confederation (BCC) and Chair of the
Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance (MTRA), gave evidence to the International Trade Committee in March this year.
She said: “The International Trade Committee rightly has concerns about the ability of the new Trade Remedies Authority to defend industries like ceramics against cheap dumped imports. We’ve been raising our concerns about the proposed legislation for months, it’s time government listened.
“This critical issue and its importance for UK manufacturing businesses and jobs should not be underestimated.
“There is a lack of sufficient detail, and timescales are becoming increasingly constrained. All we want is a level playing field.”
Ten years ago, huge volumes of excessively cheap imports of ceramic tiles, giftware and tableware from China resulted in the EU imposing new rules in 2011, to correct the pricing. As a result of this ‘level-playing field’, employment in ceramic manufacturing in the UK has increased.
Dr Cohen has backed calls from the International Trade Committee for the government to prioritise the TRA, to ensure it will be fully operational by the March 2019 deadline.
This must include appointing the TRA board, with appropriate parliamentary scrutiny of both the Trade and Customs Bills.
Notes to editors
The British Ceramic Confederation is the trade association for the UK ceramic manufacturing industry, representing the common and collective interests of all sectors of the industry. Its member companies cover the full spectrum of ceramic manufacturing, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.
 Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance members:
Agricultural Industries Confederation
British Ceramic Confederation
Chemical Industries Association
Confederation of Paper Industries
Mineral Products Association
Renewable Energy Association
For further information please contact:
Ciara Jagger, Publicity and Project Officer, British Ceramic Confederation, Federation House, Station Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2SA.
Tel: 01782 572851 E-mail: CiaraJ@ceramfed.co.uk www.ceramfed.co.uk