Head of America's biggest steelmaker accuses EU and UK of 'negligence'

The head of America’s biggest steelmaker has accused the EU and UK of being “negligent” in their approach to China dumping cheap steel on world markets.

US Steel chief executive Mario Longhi, said the crisis facing the British industry was the result of misguided policies.

He said he hoped lessons would be learned from the crisis triggered by this month’s decision by Tata Steel to put its British operations up for sale.

The global steel industry was going through one of its worst downturns in 50 years, brought on by China’s overproduction to the collapse in oil prices and its impact on demand for steel pipes and other products.

Read more: Tata chiefs to use just 10 per cent of their own steel to build HQ

But he said European officials and the British government had been naive and were now paying the price for accommodating China.

PA Corus steelworks at Redcar

Redcar steelworks have been jeopardised in recent months

That, Mr Longhi said, was particularly true in their apparent willingness to grant Beijing’s request to be dubbed a “market economy” in the World Trade Organisation , a move that would make bringing anti-dumping cases against China much more complicated.

“The Europeans have been more negligent than anybody. For them to be…considering granting as a fact market economy status to China where you have all the evidence in place that denies them that right it’s just ridiculous,” he said. “You see the problem? It is blowing up in their face.

“I’m sure that there is something going on. But it not only may be too little but when it happens it may be too late. Because you can’t wait five years. For us we can’t wait that long,” he added.

Mr Longhi said he agreed with those in the US who said it had been a loser from globalisation. “I think we have lost more than we have gained,” he said.

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