MEPs show support for EU safeguard quota cuts

Numerous Members of the European Parliament (MEP) have written to the European Commissioner for Trade, Phil Hogan, in support of the reduction in EU safeguard quotas. This comes on the back of the fall in steel demand linked with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The letter, seen by Kallanish, was redacted by Italian MEP Massimiliano Salini and signed by almost 80 colleagues of various nationalities. It goes in the same direction indicated by Eurofer last week, calling for the safeguard quotas to be reduced significantly for the remainder of 2020.

“During the last month, the steel market outlook has changed fundamentally due to Covid-19,” the letter says. “Steel demand has fallen by over 50% in different sectors, EU steel consumption fell sharply and is expected to remain significantly down for the rest of the year. We believe that the current Tariff Rate Quotas in the Safeguard are obsolete, no longer reflecting the nowadays European market.”

The letter mentions the fact a new review of the safeguard system was already in place, as per the initial schedule. The MEPs therefore ask the trade commissioner to reconsider the volumes of quotas, to set them below traditional import levels. “In fact, we believe that to prevent this destructive scenario, the Commission should consider changing the Safeguard for the rest of 2020, to reflect the decline in real steel consumption,” the letter adds.

“Considering the global character of this crisis, the risk of deflection of imports towards the EU market is higher than never before. In addition, we must take into account the eventuality of any future increase of infections, which could lead to a re-imposition of the current measures, with devastating effects to European companies. We strongly believe that, allowing imports in large volumes, while recovering from the current situation, could cause additional devastating damages to the steel industry, especially considering its fragile situation,” the MEPs conclude.