Italian automakers ask EU to end safeguard duties

The Italian automotive sector has asked the EU to end rather than extend safeguard duties on steel products. In a note sent to Kallanish, automakers’ association Anfia criticises the difficulties carmakers are facing to procure steel, together with the financial damage caused by the latest steep price increases for flat products.

“It is fundamental to avoid the extension of safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products introduced in 2018 as an answer to US anti-dumping duties and that will expire on 30 June 2021,” Anfia warns. “These measures involve steel price increases that are no longer justifiable nor financially sustainable.”

Between June 2020 and January 2021, local car companies also suffered from steep price increase totalling more than €300/tonne ($363), with forecasts of further hikes. Major European steel players have very slowly resumed production following the initial Covid-19 impact, with lead times that are not compatible with the needs of the automotive sector, Anfia observes.

The lack of balance between steel supply and demand already seen in 2020, together with low steel volumes purchased by automakers in recent weeks, are also a matter of concern for the association. The low supply is “…dangerously lengthening” carmakers’ delivery times, it says. In some cases, delivery time is not only doubled but trebled by poor coil availability. This threatens carmakers’ ability to satisfy demand of the final consumer and implies the risk of significant financial losses, Anfia concludes.