EU mills push for tariffs on Turkish flats

Van Bael & Bellis lawyer Yuriy Rudyuk

Imports of Turkish and Indian strip mill products are on the agenda of European steel association Eurofer, market participants told Argus on the sidelines of EUROMETAL’s Steel Trade Day in Rotterdam today.

Another review of the European Commission’s steel safeguard measures is unlikely before the expiry of the quotas on 1 July 2021, unless there are significant changes to the measures applied by the US, Van Bael & Bellis lawyer Yuriy Rudyuk said during a presentation. But Eurofer may seek further restrictive measures on some of the products already covered by the quotas, he said.

Fifteen of the products covered by the safeguards also face anti-dumping or countervailing duties in Europe. Any country with duties in place may still import under the quotas and pay the applicable AD/CVD duties, but should the quotas exhaust, then the higher duty between the 25pc and the country-specific tariff is due.

The safeguard measures may be extended beyond 2021, Van Bael & Bellis said, but these can be applied only for up to eight years. A future review may also lead to narrowing of the measures.

The commission’s revised safeguard measures took effect on 1 October. The major changes include a 30pc cap to any country’s access to the hot-rolled coil (HRC) and rebar quotas, a stricter differentiation between auto-grade galvanised steel imports and construction-grade, and a 3pc yearly increase in quota volumes instead of 5pc.

But any future review of the safeguards would be conducted by a new European Commission. The new commission aims to tackle trade distortions caused by third countries through their production costs. The EU will also push for access to procurement contracts of European companies with operations abroad, Rudyuk said, singling out Russia as one of the countries causing concern because of raw material costs.

Another tool the EU is developing may see a border adjustment tax to steel arriving from countries with less stringent emissions rules. European steelmakers firmly support such a tax, with Eurofer suggesting it needs to be throughout the supply chain. But it is not clear how it would differentiate between imports. Many HRC imports from Turkey, for example, would be less carbon-intensive than those of European mills.