EU to ban processed products from Russia

Yuriy Rudyuk at the EUROMETAL International Steel Trade Day in Antwerp

The European Commission is currently working on a scheme to block finished steel products rolled from Russian slab in non-EU countries, says Yuriy Rudyuk of law firm Bael and Bellis.

A regular speaker at the events of steel distributors/traders association EUROMETAL, Ruduk at the International Steel Trade Day in Antwerp last week gave an update on some significant moves planned at the EU level.

As of 30 September next year, the import and purchase ban will be expanded to non-Russian steel products “processed in a third country incorporating iron and steel products originating in Russia,” an EC text reads.

“That will mean a major change,” Rudyuk emphasised, noting that many re-roller companies outside the EU are already worried, and starting to look for sources elsewhere. An opposite effect could occur as well in “a pendulum-like rush for available quotas” before the ban takes effect, he cautioned.

This is a new angle of looking at imports in Europe, but has been increasingly prevalent in the US already, Kallanish heard Rudyuk say at the conference. The perspective has been successfully enforced already in fields like parts for bicycles which are restricted for import but then assembled by third parties in countries not covered by restrictions.

It is not only regarding Russian or Belorussian slab. The EU is currently also investigating processing operations in Turkey of imported hot-rolled stainless steel slabs from Indonesia for possible antidumping duty circumvention practices.

Participants at the conference noted that such detours via re-rolling constitute a business model of its own. In the above example, “slab from Indonesia to the EU might decline, but at the same time stainless coil from Turkey might increase,” one said.

Christian Koehl Germany