Labour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has today called on the government to oppose China being granted market economy status this year to protect UK steel.

China is seeking to be recognized as a ‘market economy’ by the European Union, arguing that the accession accords of its 2001 agreement to join the World Trade Organization requires countries to grant this status after 15 years.

This recognition would make it very difficult for European countries to protect themselves against subsidized Chinese exports, including of steel from its state-backed blast furnaces.

The European Commission are discussing the issue but the final decision will be made by the European Parliament and member states.

Making an intervention in a speech by Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, Anna said:

“Will he join me in welcoming the fact that in the North East the balance of trade is positive and a large contributing factor to that was the steel industry on Teesside. Does he share my disappointment, anger and frustration that the government failed to do anything to step in to save steelmaking on Teesside. But will he also, looking forward, help to commit and put pressure on the government to ensure that China will not get market economy status which could put the final nail in the national steel industry in this country?”

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