EC imposes import quota for most finished steel

The European Commission has imposed provisional safeguard measures for 200 days on imports of 23 steel product categories, it says in its official gazette. These mean a 25% tariff will be levied on EU imports that exceed a global quota based on the average tonnage from 2015-2017.

The decision follows an investigation initiated due to a complaint made by European steelmakers association Eurofer. It aims to shield the European market from an increase in imports resulting from the 25% tariff imposed on steel imports by the US in March.

“It was preliminarily concluded that the Union steel industry is in a situation of threat of serious injury for the 23 product categories under assessment and that this situation is likely to develop into actual serious injury in the foreseeable future,” the Commission explains in the notice seen by Kallanish. “Given the critical circumstances, it is considered that provisional safeguard measures should be taken in order to prevent damage to the EU steel industry which would be difficult to repair before the conclusion of the current investigation.”

The import quota will be allocated chronologically on the base of the date on which declarations of release for free circulation are accepted. All countries of origin will be included in the quota system, excluding EEA members and developing countries that do not supply into the EU more than 3% of a given product category. “This means that economies such as China and Turkey provisionally escape safeguards on some products,” Eurofer explains.

In the case of products already covered by anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures, the EC says these duties will continue to apply. Nevertheless, if the quota is surpassed, in order to avoid the imposition of double remedies, the level of existing duties will be suspended or reduced to ensure they do not exceed the highest level of safeguard or duties in place.

As reported, Eurofer previously requested individual quotas by country of origin, but authorities decided otherwise. “The remainder of the investigation will determine whether an allocation of quota by exporting country is desirable in order to ensure traditional trade flows from these countries and having regard to the impact of the provisional measures,” the Commission observes. “In particular, the Commission will have to consider the potential effect of the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures currently in force on the allocation and usage of a per-country quota.”