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Plea for clearer classification of Chinese steel imports

British steel firms have called for the EU to make it easier to classify Chinese steel imported into Europe.

British Constructional Steelwork Association (BCSA) director general Sarah McCann-Bartlett said an official request had been made to the European committee for BS EN 10025 to make a clarifying statement about the definition of the standard.

She said an increasing amount of steel was being exported to the UK from China as the Asian powerhouse’s currency depreciates against the pound and other currencies.

Chinese steel with elevated levels of elements such as Boron, Chromium or Copper was often unable to be properly classified as either alloy or non-alloy steel due to a discrepancy in the way that European standards could be interpreted, said McCann-Bartlett.

“One of the issues is that because there are export rebates in China, some of the steels may be classed as alloy steels, and there’s a little bit of contention about whether the steels that are coming in are alloy or non-alloy,” said McCann-Bartlett. 

With clearer standards in place, contractors could make an informed choice on how to correctly use the steel, she said. Qualified employees are able to understand the different properties of the steel and use the appropriate weld procedures.

“It is possible to weld non-alloy steel and industry has being doing so for a long time,” she said.

The BCSA also called for the government to improve policing of CE marking all the way along the supply chain. 

“Clients, consulting engineers and main contractors should be ensuring that all the construction products they use are properly CE marked,” said McCann-Bartlett.


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