EU outlines more restrictive steel safeguard measures

The European Union has filed an official document to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to outline its proposed more restrictive changes to the existing steel safeguard measures. New rules should be applied as from the beginning of July until the end of June 2021.

“The economic shock produced by the Covid-19 pandemic represents a fundamental and exceptional change in circumstances substantially affecting the functioning of the steel market. The Commission finds it necessary therefore to consider its effects when shaping the adjustments under the review,” the commission explains in a document seen by Kallanish.

Firstly, the Commission is set to make all country specific quotas managed quarterly, in order to avoid overcrowding of imports. In addition, important limitations will be applied to the possibility of using residual quotas during the last quarter by countries that already have a country-specific allocation.

In addition to the above general changes, there is also a plan for new rules to be introduced for key products. 

HRC quotas, for example, will be moved from general to country specific, further limiting the possibility of large importers taking major advantage of the allocations. With the new changes Russian suppliers will have the largest share of HRC import quotas, despite being subject to AD duties, followed by Turkey and India.

For stainless steel HRC, on the other hand, specific quotas will be turned into general, eliminating the country-specific origin rule and applying a global quarterly calculation. Finally, the Commission will split the quotas for large welded tubes into a global allocation for material used in engineering projects and a country-specific quotas system for material not used in engineering.

The review of the quotas system proposed does not go as far as limiting the quotas allocation by -75% as originally requested by Eurofer. It still confirms however the introduction of new layers of limitations to additionally control imports. “The proposed adjustments should deter any undue stockpiling behaviour in the very early phases of the recovery that could empty the market in an opportunistic manner, to the detriment of exporters and the EU steel industry,” the document adds.