Ruth Smeeth used her first question at PMQs today to challenge David Cameron on the threat posed to our ceramics industry by China's bid for Market Economy Status. Click here to see the video.
The EU and UK are currently debating whether to confer ‘Market Economy Status’ on China, which would prevent meaningful anti-dumping measures against unfair Chinese export practices and state intervention. This could allow China to flood the UK market with cheap, inferior products – a major threat to UK ceramics manufacturers.
The change could result in the loss of 300,000 jobs in EU industries – a third of which are in ceramics – and would be catastrophic for The Potteries.
China currently only meets 1 in 5 of the criteria for MES. Despite this the UK Government currently appears to be supportive of the bid.
“We have already seen from the devastating impact on the British steel industry what happens when our Government sits back and does nothing to defend British jobs and trade. We can’t afford for the ceramics industry to suffer the same fate.”
Over 2,500 people in my constituency are employed in the ceramics industry. Those jobs would be put at risk if China is granted Market Economy Status."
All we are asking for is a level playing field. Our ceramics industry is the best in the world, but we cannot compete fairly if state-funded Chinese companies are allowed to flood the market with cheap products.”