EU HDG safeguard quotas’ circumvention remains an issue

The circumvention of EU safeguard quotas assigned to Chinese HDG material for automotive use by a number of importers remains an issue in Europe. This is according to a number of speakers gathered at the Kallanish Europe Steel Markets conference in Amsterdam this week.

According to ArcelorMittal, the issue is known to both the European Commission (EC) and European carmakers. The company expects the EC to make some changes during the current revision of the safeguard system, says Laurent Plasman, ArcelorMittal’s head of operational marketing for flat products in Europe.

Quotas for Chinese HDG for the automotive sector are assigned under group 4b, and therefore separated from general HDG imports. Plasman notes that this division is easily circumvented by importers, who are bringing Chinese HDG into Europe destined for other uses.

Dick Sands from Stemcor agrees with ArcelorMittal’s view and adds that the problem exist because of the way the division was designed for the safeguard measures. “There are many anomalies and some importers are playing with it [… the system],” he adds.

A trader from the conference floor confirms that his company had an important volume of Chinese HDG sitting at a European port. The consignment will be cleared through customs at the beginning of July, as soon as new quotas are available. He added this material is set to be used in construction despite falling under the category designed for automotive use.