EU rebar quota review unlikely, says Irepas

The EU is unlikely to be willing to renegotiate the conditions of its safeguard quota on rebar imports, while importers face the risk of material being stuck at port because it did not clear Customs on time. This was the conclusion of the International Rebar Exporters and Producers Association (Irepas) traders committee.

On Turkey’s 300,000-tonne rebar quota under the EU safeguard system, Duferco’s Wilhelm Alff said there is a huge risk that some material imported will not clear Customs in time. It will therefore be stuck at port until the new quota allocation opens. Participants at Monday’s Irepas meeting in Barcelona slammed the small quota tonnage. “It’s 15 vessels of 20,000t for the whole of Europe,” Alff observed. Baysal added: “300,000t is a joke.”

Alff added, however, that nobody has complained thus far about a lack of rebar supply in the EU. “For rebar there is definitely no shortage,” he said at the meeting attended by Kallanish. European producers say “…we totally overestimated the demand and we underestimated the flexibility and production, the utilisation which was made by European mills, and all these volumes can be easily absorbed.” Brussels is unlikely to be willing to renegotiate the rebar quota, he added.

Simone Jordan of Ronly argued for the creation of a system to record Turkish export sales to the EU in real time. This is in order to track the tonnage already on its way and reduce the likelihood of importers exceeding the quota. Baysal suggested the creation of a European steel importers’ association that could lobby for more support, while Alff agreed that all the burden is currently placed on the importer. It would, however, be difficult to create such a system, Alff added.

The EU did consider an import licence system that would permit holders to import quota-free steel. But Brussels ultimately decided against this because they said it would result in the “… mismanagement of volumes because big importers may buy the entire quota at a time; they have the money, they have the funds, they can handle it, and the smaller ones will suffer,” Alff commented.