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Labour MEPs have challenged the Tories to back strong measures to save steel jobs, following yesterday’s vote in favour of new EU laws to define unfair trade practices, that will enable stronger action against countries like China that distort trade by dumping cheap imports onto European markets.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, said:

“It’s great that for once the Tories voted the progressive way, backing new laws to strengthen the criteria of what constitutes unfair trade practices, but will they now follow this up and back stronger action against countries that dump imports onto the market?

“Or will they blindly follow Theresa May into the Brexit back alley of inaction, whatever the cost in jobs, communities and livelihoods? The Tory government's record so far has been abysmal on trade defence, and looking ahead, is set to become even worse - the draft Trade Bill looks toothless, with the measures proposed by Liam Fox falling well short of what the EU is proposing. British steel workers risk being less protected than those in the rest of the EU as a result.”

David Martin MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, added:

“Yesterday's vote will allow the EU industry to continue to defend itself effectively from dumped imports from China and other countries where prices are significantly distorted.

“While the EU has completed this first set of trade defence reforms, and inter-institutional negotiations for the modernisation of trade defence instruments are currently ongoing, the UK's future trade defence policy lies in complete darkness. Liam Fox's draft trade bill submitted to the House of Commons last week would establish a Trade Remedies Authority whose composition and functions are completely unclearm, and no indication has been given about Britain's future trade defence policy, potentially leaving the UK as a soft touch for dumped goods.”

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Will Tories now back not block stronger EU action to save steel jobs?

Labour MEPs have challenged the Tories to back strong measures to save steel jobs, following yesterday’s vote in favour of new EU laws to define unfair trade practices, that will...

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The UK must keep new EU laws that will crack down on rogue traders who breach the consumer rights of online shoppers - including for cross-border transactions, Labour MEPs have warned. The new laws will enhance the powers of national authorities to work together to investigate and sanction companies, protecting consumers from scams and other online frauds.

The new powers include forcing domain registrars and banks to identify rogue traders; undercover shoppers buying test purchases; ordering the explicit display of a warning to consumers, or ordering a hosting service provider to remove, disable or restrict access to a website or app if there are no other effective means to stop an illegal practice; imposing penalties, such as fines or periodic penalty payments; and seeking to obtain commitments from the trader to offer adequate remedies to affected customers and informing them how to seek compensation. Consumer organisations will also have an enhanced role.

Examples of past practices that should be tackled better under the new rules include: a cross-border promotion of short duration by an airline which later cancelled the discounted tickets; a long-term subscription hidden behind an offer to try to win a phone for €1; an online trader not delivering the design furniture it claims to sell - and who relocated four times over three years; complaints on car rental prices made to European consumer centres showing that consumers are discriminated against based on their country of origin.

Pending formal adoption by Council, the regulations will come into force in two years, and will apply not just throughout the European Union but the European Economic Area as well.

Catherine Stihler MEP, vice-chair of the European Parliament internal market and consumer protection committee, said:

"These new laws will crack down on rogue traders, making it harder for online crooks to scam, defraud and rip off consumers - and it is vital that we implement these laws, so British consumers enjoy the same protections as citizens in the rest of the EU and EEA.

"After Brexit, Britons will continue to shop online, and will continue to purchase goods across borders. British consumers must not become second-class citizens with inferior consumer rights."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

UK must keep new EU laws that will crack down on rogue online traders, warn Labour MEPs

The UK must keep new EU laws that will crack down on rogue traders who breach the consumer rights of online shoppers - including for cross-border transactions, Labour MEPs have...

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Labour MEPs will vote today for new EU laws to define unfair trade practices. The new methodology of calculating what constitutes a “significant distortion” will enable action to be taken against countries like China that have dumped cheap steel onto European markets.

The UK government, however, last week said that it will not toughen its trade defence measures, even if the EU does, prompting warnings from the steel industry that a failure to match the EU’s tough stance on dumped imports after Brexit will put thousands of British jobs at risk.

The new criteria will also include social and environmental factors when evaluating the probity of trade practices - a world first.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, said:

“A year ago, steelworkers were marching in Brussels to protest the dumping of cheap steel and calling for China to be denied Market Economy Status (MES), concerned that thousands more jobs were being threatened.

“Labour MEPs have long pushed for action, and the EU has now delivered - a welcome step. What a contrast with the attitude of the Tory government. They continue to drag their feet in granting our workers and industries the protection they need against dumping whether in the EU negotiations or through the weak post-Brexit proposals on trade remedies.

“Here for the first time ever in trade defence regulations, social and environmental criteria will also be assessed, a first step towards an effective recognition of the effects of unfair trade practices on workers and the environment.

“We now have a much more progressive alternative before us, but this is just one part of the EU’s endeavour to strengthen its trade defences. We’ve reached a deal on MES, we now need a deal to modernise the overall trade defence instruments in order to really save European steel.”

David Martin MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, added:

“This is a great start, but only a start. Now we have a methodology to calculate what constitutes market distortions - and remember it is the European Parliament that has led national governments on this - we need to get on with the urgent task of strengthening sanctions and actually taking action against those countries that break the rules.

“During negotiations the European Commission and especially the Council took a clear commitment to make substantive progress on trade defence instrument modernisation before today’s vote, but to our great disappointment we have to date not seen any significant move made by ministers.

“Today’s vote sends a very clear message: the Council and Commission must now engage more constructively on trade defence, and the UK government must back any action and match, not dilute it, after Brexit. Our industry needs effective measures not only against China but against all those countries engaging in unfair trade practices.”

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Labour MEPs: New EU blacklist of unfair trade practices will enable action to protect Europe’s steel industries

Labour MEPs will vote today for new EU laws to define unfair trade practices. The new methodology of calculating what constitutes a “significant distortion” will enable action to be taken...

Read more

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