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MEPs call on the Commission to ensure fair opportunities to compete for the European rail supply industry© AP Images/ European Union-EP 

A surge in low-cost EU imports of rail supplies such as engines or signals from non-EU countries, including China, is skewing competitive conditions for EU suppliers, MEPs warned on Thursday, adding that much of this surge is due to strong political and financial support in exporters’ home countries. Parliament calls on the EU Commission to craft "a coherent EU trade strategy, which ensures compliance with the principle of reciprocity, particularly in relation to Japan, China and the USA."

"These practices may constitute unfair competition which threatens jobs in Europe", says the resolution, which was passed by a show of hands.


MEPs also ask that future EU trade agreements and revisions of existing ones should include "specific provisions which significantly improve market access for the European Rail Supply Industry (RSI), especially with respect to public procurement".


Urgent call for new trade defence tools


In a separate Wednesday afternoon debate on "Reform of Trade Defence Instruments", MEPs said that the EU needs to modernize its trade defence instruments as soon as possible. They reacted furiously to a statement by the Council’s Dutch Presidency that talks among member states on the reform proposal, which was backed and amended by Parliament back in 2014, were "still at their preliminary stage", with EU countries "divided on certain elements".


MEPs accused Council of being "irresponsible and negligent" and urged it to deliver a new law without further delay, so as to enable the EU to respond faster and more effectively to imports of dumped and subsidized goods, given that China’s treatment under EU anti-dumping law could change from December 2016, and in view of the huge "human costs" to EU workers of the current steel industry crisis.


Background on RSI for editors

The RSI encompasses the manufacture of locomotives and rolling stock, of track, electrification, signalling and telecommunication equipment, as well as maintenance and parts services. It employs 400,000 people, invests 2.7 % of its annual turnover in R&D and accounts for 46 % of the world RSI market, says the resolution.

The railway sector overall, including operators and infrastructure, is responsible for more than 1 million jobs directly and 1.2 million indirectly in the EU.


Procedure:  non-legislative resolution

2.2 million  ; jobs are directly or indirectly linked to the railway sector in the EU

Facts 
  • Rail supply industry encompasses the manufacture of locomotives and rolling stock, and track, electrification, signalling and telecommunication equipment, as well as maintenance and parts services.