EC steel import safeguard changes needed: UK traders

Ista, the UK-based steel traders association, said EU import safeguards are counterproductive as they are currently designed and has proposed changes.

The association is seeking to have no country-specific quota for any product. “We concur with the view expressed by Stemcor in their submission,” Ista said. “Trade flows are in a constant state of flux. The tides of international trade ebb and flow depending on a whole variety of complex political, social and economic reasons. Imposing country specific quotas ignores this principle and for that reason we feel the simplest, fairest, solution would be to abolish country specific quotas.”

However, Ista said if this is still not supported by the majority, unutilized country-specific quotas should be available to others in the same way residual-origin quotas are treated. 

The association said it warned of the risk of implementing a quota system whereby an importer never knows whether it will be paying a duty or not until the shipment is cleared. In its Notice of Initiation of a Review of Steel Safeguard Measures published at the end of May the European Commission is considering why some countries have exhausted their country-specific quotas so rapidly in some product groups, and why corresponding residual-origin quotas are also being rapidly exhausted.

According to Ista, the answer is simple: “Importers and consumers of these products from these countries have been forced to rush into purchasing as soon as possible in order to secure their normal supply without risk of incurring a penal 25% duty.”

Ista highlighted the fact that members of its association also reported shortages of rebar in the UK and Ireland. 

Ista underlined also the view that it would be beneficial to merge 4A and 4B coils (4A mainly non automotive and 4b automotive grades) into one category and increase the overall size of the quota to a minimum of 2018 levels. 

— Annalisa Villa