EU/UK Steel: A Tiny Bit Of Sanity (That Won’t Go Anywhere)

 

Cheap Chinese steel is killing the EU/UK steel industry. The reasons are pretty simple. China relies on cheap coal for most of its energy needs while the UK and EU are squandering trillions to build wind farms and solar farms (in a northern climate?). And fossil fuels are punished.

I’ve been going on about this for a while. It is amazingly stupid to drive all the jobs from the UK/EU (or Canada) to China where the energy is dirtier and the labor conditions are appalling.

So there is this German Government minister who maybe finally got it.

In the fight against cheap steel from China, German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) is proposing a ‘climate MOT’ for imported products: “At the level of the World Trade Organization there are forms of certification, for example, where the environment, nature or health are at risk. I can imagine a similar certification for steel products, a kind of `climate MOT` for steelmaking, Gabriel told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung on Wednesday. “The basic idea: Only those are allowed onto the European market who comply with the same standards that we meet in the EU.” Gabriel called on the EU to adopt a tougher stance in the dispute with China over cheap steel.SteelMill_interior

MOT = Ministry of Transport. This is shorthand for: “To drive a car it must be tested and running at a certain level of safety and air cleanliness.”

The same should be true for importing any goods. If it is steel imported from China to the UK, the energy used in China must be as “clean” as the energy mix forced onto steelmakers in the UK and the wages must be comparable.

The sane should be true for all manufactured goods.

But what really happens is that the coal power plants producing cheap electricity are shut down in the UK and the steel is made in China. And the jobs (paying much less) go to China. And more CO2 (which I don’t care about … but some do) is produced than if the steel was made in the UK. And 40,000 jobs disappear. While the rich laugh.

 

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