The pressure on the European Commission to slash steel safeguard quotas is mounting as European trade union IndustriALL has sent a letter to trade commissioner Phil Hogan to request a reduction.
In the letter seen by Kallanish, IndustriALL shows its concern for the future of the steel industry in Europe. “Steel production in Europe has reduced by -50% and there has been a huge cut in new orders (down -70% to -75%). This has led to the idling of plants and even the shutdown of production. As such, there are real fears that around 50% of steelmaking capacity could be lost,” the association says.
Following on from the requests made by Eurofer earlier at the beginning of April, IndustriALL is also calling for safeguard quotas to be reduced by -75%. “The existing tariff-rate quotas are no longer relevant, and in particular, we call for a reduction in these quotas by -75% for the second and third quarters in 2020. Should this not happen, we struggle to see how the industry in Europe, and its thousands of workers, will be able to get back on their feet,” the letter explains.
Similarly, Italian minister for foreign affairs Luigi Di Maio sent a letter to Hogan last week requesting a review of the quotas to be made before the new ones become available on 1 July.
This new support for the limitation of safeguard quotas could well push the European Commission to take a decision in this instance. A number of associations grouping steel users and distributors oppose the reduction of safeguard quotas. During recent times however the European Commission has mostly supported requests coming from producers and workers rather than steel consumers.