The European steel industry must be defended against the dumping of subsidised products from overseas.
The call came at a dinner at Corus in Scunthorpe, attended by more than 670 people from all over Europe.
They were members and guests of the Lincolnshire Iron and Steel Institute (LISI), which was holding its 75th annual dinner.
Principal guest was Gordon Moffat, director-general of Eurofer, which represents the industry at a European level.
He told guests, who included industry suppliers and customers, the steel industry in Europe was one of the world's most efficient and was committed to free competition.
But he added: "We insist free trade goes hand-in-hand with fair trade.
"It's not fair trade when your competitor is a country determined to take market share by subsidising its production and where it dumps products on your market.
"I am talking here about China of course."
Mr Moffat said China did not have a single genuine comparative cost advantage, but added: "What they do have is apparently unlimited subsidisation and government assistance - we are being asked to compete against a state, not an industry."
It's quite rich for the European Steel Industry to take this stance, when the only "counter balance" against profiteering is the availability of steel from around the world. Whilst no one would argue that a lot of the recent price increases have been cost driven, the level of increases surpasses by far what can be justified by costs. The European steelmakers are undoubtedly taking advantage of the lack of imports to drive prices higher, at an unprecedented rate.
Whilst this will boost their profits to previously unseen levels, the damage they are doing to manufacturing, who are unable to manage their raw material costs is now quite serious. Who would blame industry for looking further afield to ensure their own survival. Every failure, is one less European customer for the steel industry, and one further opportunity for a far eastern component manufacturer.