Celsa and Tata urge action on cheap steel imports

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Media captionBrian Meechan shows how the 725-strong workforce at Celsa in Cardiff turns recycled scrap metal into steel

Steelmakers are calling for action to stop foreign steel flooding into the UK which they blame for the industry stagnating.

Producers Tata and Celsa employ more than 7,500 people across Wales.

Steel is a major component in the construction industry so both were badly hit by the recession and 400 jobs went at Tata last year.

Producers say cheap imports from China are taking the place of UK steel.

During the tough economic times, Celsa and Tata have continued to invest in Wales.

Steel production in the UK bounced back in 2013 but it levelled off last year.

Construction projects can obviously buy products from whichever country they want in a free market.

But steelmakers here say it is not a level playing field with the Chinese government giving financial support to their sector. Higher energy costs and business rates are also blamed pushing production costs up in the UK.

Image copyright UK Steel

The latest figures from UK Steel, a division of the manufacturers' organisation EEF, show steel output in the UK stuttering in 2014 - at 11.9 million tonnes, which was just 0.2% higher than 2013.

Imports are now 60% of the market compared with 56% in 2013.

Ian Rodgers, director of UK Steel, wants the EU and the UK Government to "act vigorously".

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