Asia – The surge in Chinese steel product exports has ‘considerably weakened’ the European steel recycling industry such that, at a time when the EU is striving to shift from a linear to a circular economy, a number of its scrap companies ‘are paradoxically ceasing to operate’ because price levels have ‘jeopardised’ the economic viability of steel recycling, according to Emmanuel Katrakis, secretary general of the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC).
His comments have been made in the context of the wider debate surrounding whether China should be accorded treatment as a market economy after the fifteenth anniversary of its accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2016. Late last year, nine leading steel producer bodies from Europe and the Americas jointly dismissed China’s case for such treatment because of the significant role still played by the government in many key aspects of the Chinese economy.
EuRIC ‘supports the position shared by a number of other European industry associations from across the value chain’. Objectively, the recycling organisation states, China is not a market-based economy and so granting it market economy status would: hamper the ability of the EU to take effective remedial action against dumped and/or subsidised products; bring about further job and investment losses in Europe; and prevent the transition to a circular economy if prices were to render recycling economically unviable because of ‘biased market conditions’.
Worldwide, China’s steel exports leapt 20% last year to 112.4 million tonnes.