EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT TO PROTEST US STEEL TARIFFS

Conservative Trade and Industry Spokesman in the European Parliament and former UK Minister for the Steel Industry, the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins MEP believes the European Parliament should protest formally against President Bush's decision to impose 30% tariffs on most steel imports into the USA.

He said: "I am proposing that an urgent motion be tabled today. The European Parliament must react swiftly to protest against this decision. We should express full support for Trade Commissioner Lamy in challenging the US measures at the World Trade Organisation and taking any necessary measures to protect Europe's steel industry.

"I believe these measures will be found to be in contravention to WTO rules because the causes of the US industry's problems are fundamentally internal. The US International Trade Commission is choosing to ignore domestic factors such as over-capacity and the need for urgent restructuring."

"This is bad for world trade, bad for US consumers and bad for British producers. It will have extremely negative consequences for the UK steel industry and the jobs that depend on it."

"However, we must not over-react. The OECD talks on world over-capacity, which have already proposed a reduction of 100 million tonnes by 2005/6, must continue and reach positive conclusions. A full-scale trade war would benefit no-one." ENDS

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