Switzerland will not benefit from EU-USA steel settlement

Switzerland and its steelmakers have nothing to gain from the end of the USA-EU steel dispute and an abolishment of Section 232 duties.

The 25% tariff introduced by the Trump administration in 2018 still applies to Swiss products, making them correspondingly more expensive than EU products, Swiss public broadcaster SRF points out.

“Steel and aluminium imports from Switzerland are still subject to the tariffs,” SRF quotes the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) as saying.

For this reason, Switzerland is sticking to its complaint against the US, which it filed at the WTO in 2018 together with other countries such as Norway, China, Turkey and India, Kallanish notes. It will either be made at WTO level, or Switzerland will succeed in forging an agreement with the USA as a supplement to that with the EU.

Of the two steelmaking companies in Switzerland, Stahl Gerlafingen makes plain long products not meant for overseas shipments. Against that, the special bar qualities made by Swiss Steel Group are sold overseas. “Many of these products are specialties that are not manufactured in the USA; [therefore,] only part of the exports are affected,” Swiss Steel says in a statement. “For the other part, we can pass on the additional costs incurred as a result of the tariffs to customers.”

Most mills that today belong to the Swiss Steel Group are actually based in EU countries, like Germany’s Deutsche Edelstahlwerke or France’s Ugine. The group will therefore be able to circumvent many restrictions through its subsidiaries.

Christian Koehl Germany