Marcegaglia criticizes further restriction of EU imports

Antonio Marcegaglia, head of the homonimous group, has expressed his scepticism over the new further closure of the EU steel import market as a consequence of the review of safeguard measures and new investigations.

Speaking during a webinar this week, the executive noted that he understands and supports the need to protect in some ways the European steelmakers following the slump in demand due to the coronavirus emergency. He added, nevertheless, that so far the decisions made by the European Commission have not been correct.

“I am not ideologically against limiting imports, even though my group is a large importer. During the last quarters and in the second part of last year we have bought more in Europe than abroad, as possibilities were available. I would have understood a reduction of tariff-free safeguard quotas (not as much as requested by Eurofer), to align them to current demand. Nevertheless the decision proposed by the Commission is not satisfactory,” Marcegaglia said.

Last week the Commission notified the WTO of its proposed changes to the safeguard system. HRC imports will be the most impacted by the new rules, as quotas will be assigned on a country-specific basis rather than globally. The volumes are nevertheless calculated on the basis of 2015-2017 figures and risk forcing a reduction of as much as 50% for HRC imports during the 12 months starting in July, Kallanish notes.

Marcegaglia added that the opening of AD and countervailing investigations on Turkish HRC imports as well as the possible increase of AD duties for Russia’s Severstal indicate that the European Union wants to close its market further.

Going forward the executive confirmed that an acceleration in the regionalisation of the steel market is highly possible.