European Commission imposes definitive safeguard measures on steel product imports

The European Commission has now imposed definitive safeguard measures on the import of certain steel products, replacing the provisional measures put in place in July last year.

The measure applies to 26 steel product categories, including stainless wire rod, rebars and carbon steel.

BACKGROUND

Last year, the USA chose to impose extra duty on imported steel and aluminium products. Not only did the ‘Section 232’ measure inflame trading tensions between the EU and US (the 25% levy hit EU steel producers) it also saw some suppliers divert exports from the US to the EU, according to the European Commission. Those combined elements have piled pressure onto EU steel producers.

In response to the US’ steel tariffs, the European Commission launched an investigation that found steel imports into the EU had increased sharply.

The Commission said: “This is seriously threatening EU steelmakers, who are still in a fragile position due to persistent overcapacity in the global steel market and an unparalleled number of unfair trade practices by certain trading partners.

“The restrictions on the US market caused by the Section 232 tariffs on steel are causing a diversion of trade flows into the EU.

“These measures are fully in line with the EU’s WTO commitments and have been carefully shaped to preserve a continued flow of imports that guarantees effective competition in the European steel market and sufficient choice for the numerous EU users of steel.”

The measures concern 26 steel product categories and consist of tariff-rate quotas above which a duty of 25% will apply. These measures should remain in place for a period up to three years, but can be reviewed in case of changed circumstances.