EU-US agreement on S232 expected soon: Eurofer

A first agreement between the European Union and the US on the existing section 232 measures could be announced in the coming days, according to Karl Tachelet, director for trade and external relations at Eurofer.

Tachelet stressed that a final deal should be reached by the beginning of December to secure the blocking of the doubling of the existing retaliatory measures imposed by Europe on the US back in 2018. “By the beginning of November we need to understand if a deal can be achieved, in order to work toward a final deal by the beginning of December,” Tachelet confirmed.

Eurofer believes that it is very likely that the ongoing negotiations on the topic will result in a deal, Kallanish understands.

“I would be very surprised if an agreement is not been reached,” Tachelet said.

What remains unclear is what an agreement would include. It is understood Europe and the US could agree to a quota system for sales into the US. This would mean a certain volume of European steel would be able to be imported in the US without tariffs being applied. Imports beyond the quotas would sill face the 25% import tariffs.

Europe historically exported over 3 million tonnes of steel products to the US annually, now exports are at some 2m t/y, meaning S232 lowered exports by some 1mt, Eurofer calculates. The association also noted that around half of current exports to the US are products that have been exempted from S232 measures following specific applications by steelmakers.

While expressing support toward an agreement on S232, Eurofer noted that is still needs to look into the modalities of how the quotas will be calculated and applied. Tachelet said, for example, that quotas should be calculated on a country-by-country basis, rather than generally for the continent.

“The S232 measures are a success story for the US steel industry so there is internal pressure from the industry to keep them in place. Nevertheless we expect an announcement and a deal in the next days and weeks,” Tachelet concluded.

Emanuele Norsa Italy