BERLIN Europe needs to protect itself against Chinese steel exports, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Saturday at a conference of his Social Democrat (SPD) party.
"Europe needs to organise its markets in such a way that it not only creates competition but also social security," said Gabriel, leader of the SPD.
"And that includes Europe confidently protecting its markets if others - in this case China - try to destroy our industrial foundations with government funds. Europe's steel workers have a right to that," he said.
China is by far the world's biggest steel producer and its annual output is almost double that of the EU, with rival producers accusing China of selling into export markets at below cost after a slowdown in demand at home, causing a crisis for the industry that has led to job cuts and plant closures.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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