Members of the European Parliament are today debating the EU’s future trading relationship with China ahead of a crunch vote on Thursday that the British Ceramic Confederation say could have significant implications for UK ceramic manufacturing. MEPs are discussing so called ‘Market Economy Status’ for China which if granted will prevent effective anti-dumping measures against Chinese companies, such as the trade tariffs currently protecting 6,000 UK jobs in ceramic tile and tableware manufacturing.
Under current rules the EU can take into account the fact that China is not a market economy when it investigates unfair trade practices by Chinese exporters. This includes China selling tableware and tiles to Europe at below the cost of production because of the overcapacity in its own manufacturing sector, otherwise known as ‘dumping’. The current rules allow anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese imports that are currently protecting many thousands of EU manufacturing jobs. However the European Commission, backed by UK Government Ministers and Officials, want to grant China special status that will prevent such measures in the future.
British Ceramic Confederation Chief Executive Laura Cohen is concerned:
“Nobody, even proponents of ‘Market Economy Status’ dispute the fact that China does not pass the tests to define it as a market economy. However the Commission, backed by UK Government Ministers, are making a thin legal argument for an exception for China. If they are successful 6,000 UK jobs in tiles and tableware could immediately be put at risk, not to mention the jobs in the supply chain and other trade exposed sectors. That would be a huge shame when the UK’s ceramic manufacturing is going through a renaissance - we hope that MEPs will resist the Commission’s plan.”
The confederation is backing a call by a pan-European cross industry group, AEGIS Europe, for the matter of China’s trade status to be decided globally with other important trade partners such as the US and Canada.
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 manufacture, including the supply of materials, and comprise over 90% of the industry’s manufacturing capacity.
For further information please contact:
Dr Laura Cohen, Chief Executive, Tel: +44 (0)1782 572845 Mobile : +44 (0)7827 358613