European steelmakers association, Eurofer, is strongly supporting the launch of new safeguard measures to protect the European steel industry from volumes deflected by the new tariffs imposed by the US.
During the European Steel Day in Brussels, Geert Van Poelvoorde, the president of the association, explained that preliminary measures could be announced as soon as the beginning of July. These would then be in place for a period of 200 days, until the end of the year, when permanent measures will have to be confirmed.
The association is pushing for the European Commission to create a country-based quotas system in which the volumes above the quotas would be subject to a 25% tariff. The quotas are expected to be calculated on a quarterly based on each importing country from the average of the volumes imported during the last three years.
Van Poelvoorde explained that any tariff below 25% would not be sufficient to stop the deflection of volumes from the US, as it would still be below the levels imposed by the US. "It is also important that no countries or products should be excluded from the safeguarding measures," he added.
Eurofer calculates that imports into the EU grew 8% y-o-y in the first quarter of this year, after they had already reached a peak in 2017 (see Kallanish 6 June). The association says that if the trend is not arrested this year, then imports could grow by 15% year-on-year. In the longer term some 13mt more of steel products could be sold into Europe, 30% more than the level seen in 2017.
Axel Eggert, director general of the association, commented that steel users and importers in Europe should not be concerned. The measures would not limit the imports but only ensure that these do not rise dramatically, impacting prices, jobs and production, he added. Traders, users and independent service centres have voiced their concerns over the possible imposition of new measures limiting the imports of steel in Europe (see Kallanish passim).