European steel association Eurofer has asked the European Commission to “meaningfully” reduce 30pc country caps on major exporters, in addition to the 75pc cut in tariff-rate quota volumes it has requested for the second and third quarters of this year,.
As it stands, for some products individual countries can be no more than 30pc of the European Union import market. But Eurofer wants this reduced as exports could increase from countries that are seeing a drop in domestic demand caused by Covid-19.
Eurofer also wants the commission to amend the safeguard so that any unused quota cannot be rolled over into the next period.
In a letter dated 30 April to the commission, the association said all quotas should also be made quarterly. It said its analyses showed demand from major steel use sectors would be down 58pc, justifying the measures.
The tightening could be reviewed for the fourth quarter and 2021 later in the year, it said, adding that the rate of duty could be relaxed from 25pc to 22pc.
The commission confirmed yesterday that it would be bringing the impact of Covid-19 into the scope of its safeguard review, meaning some reduction in quotas is very likely. Interested parties have until 7 May to comment.
Sources suggested that the European Union is unlikely to use Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to implement [emergency restrictions](direct.argusmedia.com/newsandanalysis/article/2101615) on imports, though this has been suggested. Instead, it could be used to allow a larger reduction in quota volumes than would otherwise have been possible.
By Colin Richardson