New EU Russia sanctions concern UK manufacturers

New EU sanctions on Russia could significantly impact UK downstream manufacturers who source steel worldwide. They must therefore urgently study the legislation, warns the Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM).

The new rules, which come into force from 30 September, require evidence that iron and steel used to produce goods in a third country – outside the EU, including the UK – does not originate from Russia. Material test certificates will be required to confirm the facility and location at which the material was originally melted and poured as well as for secondary steel processes.

CBM president Stephen Morley says many firms will be unaware of this change to exporting. It could cause products to be delayed at customs and, in some instances, trigger “catastrophic production stoppages in critical automotive and aerospace sectors”, he tells The Manufacturer magazine.

“It is important to recognise that the scope of the EU measures on iron and steel products extends far beyond primary and secondary steel products to encompass many finished goods, including fasteners and other industrial consumables. They will also cover many ‘retail’ products, such as stoves, cookers and kitchen and sanitary ware,” Morley observes.

“Effectively, it is a case of prepare for the worst-case scenario, while fervently hoping that EU authorities recognise that the stringency of compliance requirements will jeopardise the flow of UK to EU supply chains,” he adds.

“There’s a lot of mixed messaging out there currently, with some suggestions that German Customs may take a more pragmatic view about what evidence is required, whilst the latest info from Belgium and France suggest a more stringent approach,” Morley continues.

“These sanctions – across the board – could have a dramatic impact on both UK exporters and importers, with many of our members bringing in their steel from all over the world. It’s a delicate issue and our best advice is to plan ahead to avoid any supply chain disruption,” Morley warns.

CBM represents UK manufacturers of fasteners, forgings and pressings, cold rolled and sheet metal products.

The new sanctions have recently seen Turkish billet buyers postpone bookings from Russia to evaluate their impact (see Kallanish passim).

Adam Smith Poland