Labour MEPs have called on the European Commission and the UK government to use China's rise to market economy status as an opportunity to pressure the WTO to demand Beijing plays fair and stops uncompetitive practices like the dumping of steel, which is devastating Britain's steel industry.
David Martin MEP, Labour's European Parliament spokesperson on trade with China, said:
"The Commission has had 15 years to address this problem and we are now running out of time.
"We are demanding real engagement from the Commission to reassure European industry and workers that the EU will be properly equipped to deal with global overcapacity and dumping on our market after the end of this year.
"Europe can't be a soft touch for unfairly subsidised imports from China. It's not protectionist to want adequate protection from unfair competition - we urgently need updated trade defence instruments to ensure this."
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, member of the European Parliament international trade committee, added:
"China is dumping large quantities of steel and other goods into the EU market and this is having devastating effects on industrial communities across Britain, including my own constituency.
"The EU has the ability to protect our economy against this unfair trade, but sadly our own UK government is blocking any strengthening of current EU trade defence instruments, and is even contemplating giving China a permanent permit to dump.
"It's high time the government recognises the need to ensure a fair market for our basic industries and manufacturing."