Eurofer supports EU action on Indonesian stainless policy

The European steelmakers’ association Eurofer tells Kallanish that it is supporting the challenge launched by the European Union with the World Trade Organization against Indonesian export restrictions on nickel used in stainless steel production.

“The European Commission said that, ‘these restrictions unfairly limit access of EU producers to raw materials for steel production, notably nickel as well as scraps, coal and coke, iron ore and chromium. The EU is also challenging subsidies that encourage the use of local content by Indonesian producers and give preference to domestic over imported goods, which goes against WTO rules’,“ Eurofer says.

“Indonesia has been engaging in an aggressive expansion of its nickel processing and stainless steel sectors,” says Eurofer director general, Axel Eggert. “This began in 2014, with Indonesia banning the exports of nickel-bearing raw materials to ensure its nascent domestic stainless production had access to below-market price inputs. Although the restriction was partially eased in 2017, a full export ban will be restored on 1 January 2020.”

Apart from the disregard for the rules of international trade, the integrated production route used by Indonesia to produce stainless steel is more CO₂-intensive than the electric melting process used in Europe, Eggert adds.

“200,000 direct and indirect European jobs depend on stainless steel, and they should not be put at risk because of the unfair activities of other countries,” the director general continues.