Eurofer looks to October change for EU safeguards

The first possible changes to the existing EU safeguard system for steel imports could be applied from early October, Eurofer’s director of international affairs Karl Tachelet says. He was speaking at the Kallanish Europe Steel Markets conference in Amsterdam on Thursday.

A review of the current system is underway, but a final report on the ongoing revision is expected to be presented by mid-August. Tachelet explains that once this report is presented the decision will be put to the votes by EU member states in September. This would lead to any potential changes taking effect from the beginning of October, when a new quarter for assigned quotas will be starting.

Eurofer is requesting that the authorities consider its six proposals to make sure that the safeguard system is operating correctly. In the association’s view, the permanent safeguard measures are still not effective in protecting European steelmakers from the deflection of imports into the region following last year’s imposition of US Section 232 tariffs.

Eurofer believes that the tariff-free quotas currently in place should also be calculated quarterly for specific countries. It is also requesting managed access to residual quotas once the country-specific allowances are exhausted and opposes the planned 5% relaxation of the quotas expected to come into effect on 1 July this year.

In addition, the association believes that exemptions from the quotas system for developing countries should be automatically cancelled once imports from these sources go beyond 3% of the total. The volumes from such countries should also not be used in the tariff-free quota calculation, as these have had a direct impact on the overall tariff-free volumes of allowed quotas by up to 2.5%.

Eurofer is also requesting that the European authorities apply country-specific quotas for HRC, as opposed to the current general quota approved in February this year.