European Commission modifies steel import safeguard measures

The European Commission has modified the safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products that have been in effect since 2018, following a report adopted by the World Trade Organization’s Dispute Settlement Body.

The EC on Jan. 13 amended the regulations by adding an annex in line with WTO rules, however, no changes were made to the measures themselves, as the EC found that there was a threat of serious injury from imports and that would have materialized if the Commission had not imposed a definitive safeguard measure.

The EC introduced them in July 2018 in the form of tariff-rate quotas.

In a WTO panel report released April 29, 2022, the WTO, however, called on the EU to bring its measure into conformity with the agreement on safeguards and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT.

The panel found at the time that the EU steel safeguard was WTO-compatible on most points while it also found, on three points, that the EU safeguard measure lacked sufficient justification.

The EU and Turkey then agreed on Aug. 9 that the EU would modify its safeguard measures on certain steel products until Jan. 16, 2023 to comply with the GATT, as previously reported.

Turkey is one of Europe’s largest steel suppliers along with Asian and CIS suppliers.

Turkey’s hot-rolled coil exports for the first 10 months of 2022 fell 20% year on year to 1.76 million mt amid reduced shipments to the EU and the US, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute data.

Platts’ Turkish exported HRC was assessed at $710/mt FOB Jan. 13, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights, representing a $500/mt decline from mid-March.

— Cenk Can