Eurofer promotes national quotas for EU safeguard measures

European steel association Eurofer said it has actively promoted a national quota system as part of the EU steel safeguard measures.

“We are promoting the idea to consider including a national quota with the EU Commission,” Karl Tachelet, director of international affairs at Eurofer, said in a seminar on the state of the EU steel market in Brussels on Wednesday.

Currently, the provisional EU measures come in form of a “global” quota, which is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis — irrespective of the imported steel’s origin.

“We see the need for national quotas, at least for the big exporting countries” in an attempt to re-balance import flows and quantities closer towards their traditional volumes, Tachelet said.

Imports from Russia and Turkey into the EU increased by 57% and 56% year on year, respectively, after the US imposed tariffs and Turkey’s domestic steel market slumped, deflecting steel sales into European countries.

“We’re not the only ones who are asking for it,” Tachelet said, adding that many industry sources, including exporters, have supported this proposition.

National quotas would “work against uncertainty” and provide some predictability of imports into the EU market for domestic steel companies, which Eurofer sees as a solid justification to switch from a global to a national quota.

The provisional EU safeguards came into effect on July 19 and will remain in place for a maximum of 200 days. Following a consultation period that takes into consideration comments and economic development, definitive safeguard measures may be imposed in early 2019.

Pascal Dick, S&P Global PLATTS