Industry and globalisation

Workshop on Facilitating Structural Adjustment in the Steel Sector


Organised by the OECD Steel Committee, 17 September 2018, OECD Headquarters

The focus of the OECD Steel Committee's work is on promoting structural adjustment in the steel sector that would lead to a more open and less distorted steel markets as well as a more efficient allocation of productive resources. Facilitating resource allocation across firms and sectors of the economy is a key element of structural change and a driver of economic growth. However, industrial characteristics and inefficient policy settings may result in excess capacity and heightened barriers to exit that tend to prolong or even hinder structural adjustment. This is a key challenge for the steel industry.


To better understand this challenge, representatives from government, industry, trade unions and academia came together on 17 September 2018 to exchange views at an OECD Steel Committee workshop on Facilitating Structural Adjustment in the Steel Sector. The workshop was moderated by Mr. Christopher Beauman, senior adviser at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


The discussion highlighted the prominent role of policy for promoting structural adjustment in the steel sector and facilitating the exit of inefficient firms. Some participants noted that policies to facilitate the exit of inefficient production units should take into account both market and non-market factors preventing the normal interplay of market forces. In particular, any forms of direct and indirect government support should be designed in a way that they do not discourage or delay the exit of inefficient plants and only serve to address potential market failures.


The discussions also highlighted the role of skills as a key factor in facilitating re-employment prospects for laid-off workers, especially for low and medium-skilled employees. This is especially the case if workers need to transit to another industry, for which they might not yet have the appropriate skill sets. Learning, re-training and assistance in job search before the actual lay-off can help employees smoothen the transition between jobs. 



Session 1: Removing barriers to exit


Session 2. Supporting workers affected by steel capacity closures


Related materials


» Agenda (pdf)

» Background paper 

» Presentations



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