Welsh Labour MP calls for action on ‘dirty’ Chinese steel to ‘protect jobs and the planet’
Labour MP Geraint Davies has called for a carbon border tax in the UK so that “Chinese dirty steel” will not “undercut our steel”.
Wales’ Port Talbot Steelworks is one of the largest in Europe and produces nearly 5 million tonnes of steel slab per annum.
But speaking in the House of Commons, Swansea West MP Geraint Davies called International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s attention to the fact that steel produced with less stringent carbon restrictions in China could be sold more cheaply than that produced in the UK.
“Can I turn her attention as trade rapporteur of the Council of Europe to carbon border taxes in the EU?” he said.
“Would she agree those border taxes would help boost UK exports to countries exporting to the EU, making steel manufactured products, and from the UK?
“And will she pursue a carbon border tax in the UK so that Chinese dirty steel, which has got twice the carbon footprint of British steel, won’t undercut our steel and work in harmony with the EU so we can help protect our jobs, our exports and in fact the planet?”
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan replied: “The honourable gentleman will be aware that the Treasury is looking closely at all these questions at the moment. And indeed, it’s a subject of discussion, which I’ve had in some detail with both my US counterparts and other nations when we are discussing this.
“Questions of how we manage these global questions is one that thanks for the leadership that the UK offered at Cop26 is now right at the centre of all discussions.
“The EU are putting forward some proposals at the moment and I will continue to work with the Treasury as we think about how the UK wants to fit with that. But I would refer him to the Treasury if he wants more detailed information at the moment.”
Gareth Davies’ question came after Labour called on the UK Government to boost business exports to the EU, to prevent the cost-of-living crisis from being prolonged.
Shadow trade minister Gareth Thomas said: “The department’s own research shows that export-related jobs pay higher than average, so the hit to our European exports which the Secretary of State seems so complacent about is going to prolong the cost-of-living crisis.
“It also underlines that since 2010, British exports have significantly under-performed compared to the rest of the G7, notably the US and Germany.
“Businesses tell us that other countries have more ambitious export support programmes, while the Prime Minister blames our exports for a lack of energy and ambition. Where does she think the blame lies?”
International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan replied: “As I have set out, the export strategy is bringing forward the tools exactly to his point, that we are quite the opposite of complacent, we are here to support through a dozen different routes ways to help businesses to either grow the export markets they already have or indeed to discover exporting for the first time.”
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