EU scrap ban threatens financial losses: Assofermet

A scrap export ban from the European Union to non-EU countries would strongly impact European companies in scrap collection and supply causing job losses, Italian trade association Assofermet says in a note sent to Kallanish. Environmental and authorisation issues would also arise, being linked to the progressive increase of unused scrap that would impose a limit on scrap production. It adds that lower-grade scrap collection requiring high processing costs would stop entirely.

The association’s comments add to concerns that have been recently voiced by other associations such as German BVSE and VDM regarding the importance of protecting free scrap trade between the European Union and outside countries.

Scrap within the Union is structurally redundant and in surplus compared to the market requirements of EU steelmakers and EU scrap consumption continues to be lower than collection, Assofermet notes.

From 2005, steel production in Europe has been steadily decreasing, falling from 182.3 million tonnes to 152.6m/t in 2021 with a low level of 132.2m/t registered in 2020 due to the global pandemic.

Last year, with the EU’s steel output standing at 152.6m/t, 87.9 m/t of ferrous scrap was remelted, and 19.5m/t was left unused. According to the global principles of the circular economy, the surplus must continue to be exported. From 2005 to date exports of ferrous scrap have increased by about 12m/t because production of crude steel in the EU has fallen by about 30 m/t. Also since 2005, scrap imports into the EU have been steadily decreasing, thanks to the abundance of scrap supply within the EU, Assofermet concludes.

Natalia Capra France