Market questions omissions in EU seamless pipe review

The European Commission has initiated an expiry review of anti-dumping measures on Russia-origin imports of seamless pipe and tube of an external diameter up 406.4mm and carbon equivalent value (CEV) of 0.86.

The request for a review, submitted in June by the European Steel Tube Association (ESTA), “is based on the grounds that the expiry of the measures would be likely to result in recurrence of dumping and recurrence of injury to the Union industry,” states the Commission official journal entry seen by Kallanish.

According to informed sources, the review should have covered Ukraine, which was included in the previous case with Russia and which is exporting high volumes of seamless pipe to Europe. However, for geopolitical reasons related to the Ukraine war, the Commission decided to exclude Ukraine.

“It seems very odd that AD measures versus Ukraine originally in the same case as Russia are not showing in the same review,” one well-placed market source comments. “It cannot be explained by economical reasons as EU Customs import statistics are showing that imports originating in Ukraine were the largest in volume until summer 2022 … Ukraine’s exports to Europe are only second to China which made a huge leap in volumes between 2021 and 2022,” the source continues.

“Meanwhile, imports originating in Russia are very limited, first because of AD measures in place, and because of the total ban on trade due to the sanctions enforced on Russia. It is indeed very peculiar that EU authorities would be willing to go against Russia that does not represent any real threat but no action is taken to against Ukraine which is importing huge volumes into the EU, totally unchecked as all trade measures [anti-dumping and safeguard] have been lifted for Ukraine since June 2022,” the source adds.

The source says the Commission is ignoring the main threat represented by China, which doubled its export volumes to Europe in a year. “Does it make sense to attack Russia … leaving the two main sources of import, China and Ukraine, without any investigation?” the source asks.

According to Eurostat data, in 2020 Ukraine exported to the EU 97,409 tonnes of seamless pipe with diameter up to 406.4mm, in 2021 it shipped 101,579t and in 2022 this was 99,217t. In the first half of 2023 the country supplied 44,826t to Europe.

In 2020, China exported 78,414t to the EU and in 2021 it was 74,741t. In 2022 the figure jumped to 128,940t, while in H1 this year China already shipped 129,570t.

Imports from Russia are almost non-existent thanks to the measures in place.

Natalia Capra France