New EU trade investigation concerns Italian stainless distributors

Italian distributors and processors of stainless steel products say that they have concerns about the ongoing EU trade investigation on possible new safeguard measures, Kallanish learns from a note issued by local association Assofermet. The measures are intended to limit the imports of ferrous products and therefore could also impact the stainless sector.

The European Commission initiated an investigation in April over possible new safeguard measures for steel. This was in response to the imposition of Section 232 import tariffs in the US and the threat of a re-direction of volumes to the EU (see Kallanish passim).

Assofermet notes that, within the stainless steel sector, new barriers would be especially harmful for the distribution segment. It calculates that Italian distributors could lose up to 30% of their turnover as a result and that stainless prices could rise immediately.

The association adds that the EU stainless steel sector already suffers from a limited internal competition due to recent consolidations both in production and distribution. “European production is also incapable of completely satisfying local demand,” Assofermet notes.

As a result, the imposition of new barriers or a quota system for the stainless steel sector would impact the distribution market significantly. This would further increase the risk of delocalisation and put the fragile recovery seen lately in jeopardy, the note concludes.