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Govt Must Get New Anti-Dumping Laws Right

Friday, January 5, 2018


Union demands Government puts UK manufacturing first and insists on strong anti-dumping legislation to give the new Trade Remedies Authority the clout to protect our markets and thousands of high quality manufacturing jobs post Brexit.

The Government must get crucial anti-dumping legislation right or the UK risks being flooded with cheap steel, ceramics and other products post Brexit, says GMB.

GMB has joined forces with other trade unions and business bodies to call for amendments to the ‘Customs’ Bill being debated in Parliament next week. [1]

The Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill, more commonly called the ‘Customs Bill’ receives its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday [January 8].

Up until now defending UK manufacturing against floods of unfair imports has been the responsibility of the European Commission under rules set out in EU regulations.

But if Parliament doesn’t pass legislation to allow the new Trade Remedies Authority to be effective, UK manufacturing industries could be left defenceless, with the poorest legislation in the world, risking many thousands of high quality jobs up and down the country.

GMB, alongside ten other trade unions and business bodies, has written to the Secretary of State for International TradeLiam Fox urging him to amend the bill.[1]

Jude Brimble, GMB National Secretary for Manufacturing, said:

"Next week MPs will debate one of the most important issues facing post-Brexit Britain.

“Get this wrong and the UK market could be flooded with cheap steel, ceramics and other products – putting thousands of jobs at risk.

“GMB demands the Government puts UK manufacturing jobs and industry first and insists on strong anti-dumping legislation to give the new Trade Remedies Authority the clout it needs to protect our markets and high quality manufacturing jobs."


Contact: GMB press office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to Editors

[1] The organisations who are signatories to the position paper are: the Agricultural Industries Confederation, British Glass, British Ceramic Confederation, Chemical Industries Association, Confederation of Paper Industries, Community, GMB, Mineral Products Association, UK Steel and Unite the union.

[2] Copy of the letter to the the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, below:

Dear Secretary of State

I am writing to you on behalf of the Manufacturers Trade Remedies Alliance (MTRA), which represents businesses and employees across the following sectors: steel, ceramics, glass, mineral products, fertilisers, chemicals and paper. We wish to raise concerns about recent consultation and stakeholder engagement regarding the proposed UK trade remedy system. While we welcome officials’ willingness to meet with us both collectively and as individual organisations, it is regrettable that the Government has largely ignored the detailed submissions we have made.

Throughout our engagement with the Department for International Trade, we have received hardly any feedback and we feel the process has been very one-sided. On the basis of the wording of the Trade and Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bills, MTRA members are highly concerned that the UK is heading towards the weakest trade remedy regime in the world. The proposed approach appears to be predicated on a view that trade remedies are protectionist instruments that are “at best tolerated”. This view is fundamentally flawed as, in fact, effective trade remedies have the role of levelling the playing field and supporting effective competition.

Global markets can be greatly distorted by certain states and trade practices such as dumping and subsidy. Trade remedies are akin to domestic competition laws that serve to ensure that international competition is fair and effective. As there are no global competition rules, so trade remedies are absolutely critical in ensuring that competition in global markets remains effective. MTRA members have four primary concerns with the Bills currently before Parliament (detailed alongside possible solutions in the attachment):

1. Inadequate provision for treatment of state distortions and non-market economy situations.

2. The creation of a mandatory lesser duty rule with no exceptions.

3. The introduction of an experimental, unprecedented economic interest test.

4. Creation of an, as yet, undefined public interest test in addition to the economic interest test.

There are numerous other issues that MTRA has raised in written submissions to DIT. However, these four matters alone could result in trade remedies that are weak, open to political lobbying and ineffectual. At a time of uncertainty for British business, the UK should be legislating for a tried and tested approach to trade remedies, not an experimental one.

If Parliament adopts the two Bills in their current form there is a high risk that trade remedies would never be adopted, depriving UK manufacturers of a level playing field. We therefore ask for an urgent meeting with you to enter into a meaningful two-way discussion. Effective trade remedies are critical to enabling the Industrial Strategy to help our manufacturers thrive outside of the European Union.

Together with Government we want to create a trade remedies framework that will support the Prime Minister’s objective to get the British economy working for everyone.

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