Eurofer has written to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, calling for a number of measures to support the steel sector in the current Covid-19 crisis.
The European steelmakers association asks authorities to immediately review existing safeguard measures. It proposes to reduce quotas by 75% for a period of six months, to align them to the difficult situation of the market. In return, tariff level beyond the quotas could be reduced below 25%, it adds.
Furthermore, the imposition of “…crisis and security-related steel import restrictions” could be taken into consideration.
In addition to reviewing the safeguard system and controlling imports, Eurofer calls for the EU to encourage regional and local governments to recognise steel as an “essential” sector to keep it operating during the crisis.
The association also suggests a series of measures to realign the EU Emissions Trading System to avoid carbon leakage, Kallanish notes.
“For steel, the difficult situation has become critical,” the association says in the letter. “We had already lost about 25% of our workforce and 20% of production volumes between 2009 and 2019 as a result of massive global steel excess capacity and trade distortions. The significant downturn in EU steel demand in 2019 rendered the otherwise welcomed EU steel safeguards ineffective for a large part of our industry, even before the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“Our industry is fighting for its survival. The impact of Covid-19 is emptying order books, forcing massive cuts in production, idling of entire facilities, and short-time working hours and temporary lay-offs of workers,” Eurofer concludes.