Britain’s ceramics industry will need close care and attention during Brexit to prevent a flood of cheap crockery being dumped by China, a leading MEP is warning.
Anthea McIntyre made the rallying call for British ceramics following a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, which examined threats facing the industry.
Miss McIntyre, Conservative MEP for the West Midlands region which includes Stoke on Trent and The Potteries, said: “My region is standard-bearer for quality in crockery, tableware and industrial ceramics. In a fair marketplace we can compete on a global scale – but unless we have protection against dumping from the Far East, we will be hard hit and jobs will be lost.
“We have had protection from dumping because of World Trade Organisation rules and European Union anti-dumping legislation, but those things are all in flux.”
She backed calls by the British Ceramics Confederation for a programme of measures including adoption of all anti-subsidy, anti-dumping and safeguarding measures allowed under WTO rules, and promotion of a genuine global free trade environment.
Miss McIntyre said: “China would be very happy selling us cheap dinner services for less than they cost to make. They are not operating in a free market.
“Britain and the West Midlands are synonymous with excellence in ceramics. We must not let Brexit give our competitors the opportunity to undermine us unfairly.”