German steelmaking states push for safeguard import quota extension

Germany’s steel producing states urged the German government to push for a steel safeguard import quota extension until mid-2026, the states said in a roadmap for Germany’s steel industry published Jan. 29.

The safeguard quotas on steel imports into the European Union were introduced in 2018 following the move by the US to introduce tariffs on steel imports. The safeguards are due to end mid-2023, but the 11 German states that are part of the “steel alliance” argue that import restrictions would be needed to avoid an influx of imported material.

“The steel alliance is pleading to the German federal government to advocate at European level for a limited extension of the steel safeguard measures, in line with WTO-rules that allow for an eight-year duration of safeguards,” the states said in a document published Jan. 29.

The steel alliance is also asking that more iron and steel products are included in the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to protect steelmaking in Europe. CBAM is due to start in 2026 and will put a levy on higher-emission metals imports.

The document further said that the German steel industry would need a “level-playing field” to continue steelmaking with lower carbon emissions, with more renewable energy and energy storage, and infrastructure for hydrogen.

About hydrogen the steel alliance said there should be consistent certification and standards to trade green hydrogen at international level.

Since many steel mills are moving to electric arc furnace production which has lower carbon emissions than the traditional blast furnace route but is more energy-intensive, the alliance is also asking the government to address the rising cost of energy to keep this production method viable.

German steel federation welcomed the roadmap Jan. 29 as a commitment on state level for the transformation of the steel industry, but said that more specific political solutions are needed to address the issues.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed Northwest European hot-rolled carbon-accounted coil stable on the day at Eur875/mt ($945.60/mt) ex-works Ruhr Jan. 29.

Author Laura Varriale,