European Commission requests comments on steel safeguard review

The European Commission (EC) has opened a written procedure in the ongoing review of the safeguard measures affecting steel imports. The intention is to gather comments on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Kallanish learns from an official document.

The decision to call for written comments is said to be “… exceptional”. All parties interested in providing evidence and comments are expected to do so by the end of the day on 7 May.

In an official written communication, steelmakers’ association Eurofer again asked the EC last week to further tighten safeguard measures due to the fall in demand in the sector created by coronavirus.

The association believes quotas should be cut by -75% for the second and third quarters and the allocation should be quarterly for all products involved. It also considers that the maximum cap for each country to use the existing quotas should be lowered from the current level of 30%. “Given the extreme uncertainty in the coming quarters, a review of the approach should be taken for Q4 2020 and for 2021 later in the year. This reduction in quotas volume can be balanced by a liberalisation of the current 25% out-of-quota tariff (e.g. to 22%),” Eurofer adds.

During recent weeks a number of other commentators have supported the requests originally made by Eurofer, but distributors and processors of steel have also widely criticised this approach. “The problem is that Eurofer’s lobbying power is very strong. The automotive sector (among steel end users) could raise its voice against the requests made by European steelmakers, but at the moment they seem to be having bigger issues to face,” a European trader says.