EU steelmakers criticise safeguard review proposal

The chief executives of EU steelmakers have written to the European Commission voicing their disappointment over the proposed safeguard review prepared by the Commission.

In the letter published by European steelmakers’ association Eurofer, the steelmakers again request safeguard tariff-free quotas to be cut significantly, in line with the Covid-19-related slump in steel demand.

“Steel demand has fallen by 50% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March,” they write in the letter. “Our industry has had to cut production sharply to adapt to these changed circumstances, with 40% of the EU steel workforce laid-off or having to work part-time. Meanwhile, countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Russia have not rested: they continued, or are restoring, steel production and stockpiling. The imminent risk of cheap steel offers flooding the market would hamper our recovery and the survival of one of Europe’s strategic industries.”

Earlier, Eurofer asked for quotas to be cut by as much as 75%. As it stands, this request was not included in the review proposal of the European Commission. It has nevertheless included a series of changes to the system in order to limit further imports of some key products from key importing countries.

The Eurofer letter starts by stating that the survival of Europe’s steel industry is at risk because of the review proposal by the Commission. A similar theme has appeared in numerous requests made by European steelmakers to limit imports during the last five years, Kallanish notes.

Last month the Commission published its proposal to review the safeguard measures, but these measures still need to be approved to become effective as from the beginning of July. While Eurofer hopes further changes to the proposal will be implemented, it states: “This crisis requires a serious review that takes into account the world as it is today. The steel safeguard being reviewed was created for the pre-Covid era. Now it needs to be adapted to the post-Covid world.”