Stockists support UK mill efforts to extend import safeguards

NASS, the UK steel distributors and service centers association, is calling on the UK government to extend safeguards beyond their current June 2021 expiry date. The move comes just a week after UK steel producers asked for the same.

According to a spokesman from NASS, UK safeguard measures are essential to the UK steel market, particularly while the US, EU and other countries maintain their own tariffs and import quotas.

“Without these measures the UK would be exposed to trade diversion and potentially uncontrolled import surges with the resulting detrimental impact on market prices, which would of course have a very likely negative impact on the value of steel sitting in stock,” he said.

The UK government is expected to determine whether to maintain the safeguard by June, but it is understood no specific date has been decided yet. For the UK safeguards, the Trade Remedies Investigation Directorate (TRID) will make an independent determination which then goes to the Department for International Trade where the trade secretary will either accept or reject it.

For the EU safeguards the decision will be made by the European Commission and will likely be finalized after the UK, as it is expected in July. TRID did not comment on this when reached by S&P Global Platts.

Steel prices in Europe and the UK are at their highest historical levels.

The NASS spokesman said UK steel distributors and service centers have had a profitable 12 months and “stocks are at reasonable levels and imports continue to complement UK manufactured steel products in servicing key UK steel-consuming markets.”

Last week, as reported, UK Steel, the association of UK steel producers, called for keeping steel import quotas in place because of the continued problem of overcapacity and increased use of import restrictions around the world.

— Annalisa Villa