The transitional phase of the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) will begin on 1 October. As the implementation approaches, market participants in Europe are discussing the new system and its challenges. Steelmakers remain concerned for the future of steel exports.
Flavio Bregant, director general of Federacciai, the Italian steelmakers’ association, confirmed in a webinar on Thursday attended by Kallanish that the main problem for steelmakers is CBAM’s impact on their exports once the transitional phase is completed. CBAM’s full implementation is scheduled from January 2026.
“At the moment, CBAM only covers imports. We are happy to hear from the European Commission that they will look into the issue of exports in 2025, but we have explained the problem multiple times already and until now we have received no answers,” Bregant lamented.
From the beginning of 2026, free allocations of Emissions Trading System (ETS) certificates will be phased out, further increasing costs of production for European steelmakers to ensure the low-emission transformation takes place. This is set to make European steelmakers less competitive in the international steel market, hence the difficulties in exporting if fiscal support is not secured from the European Commission.
“Personally, I see exports of European steel products falling to zero once CBAM is fully implemented. This will result in the need for European steelmakers to reduce output at their mills, while keeping the doors open to imports,” Bregant explained. “I see exports falling, not imports.”
Other representatives of the steel supply chain, on the other hand, are concerned by the potential reduction in EU imports as a result of CBAM implementation (see related articles).
In 2022, European steelmakers exported over 16 million tonnes of finished steel products. This figure is over 10mt below the record levels registered in 2012-2016.
Emanuele Norsa Italy