Trade defence measures could backfire, Assofermet warns


The excessive use of trade defence measures on countries other than China, could result in damaging the competitiveness of the European manufacturing industry, Italian steel trade association Assofermet says. The association’s stance was laid out by its president Tommaso Sandrini in an open letter addressed to European institutions and companies in, and associated with, the steel sector,and  monitored by Kallanish.

The tariffs currently imposed on Chinese steel imports by the EU are supported by Assofermet, as these measures are “… dictated by necessity, common sense and fairness,” Sandrini says. However, Eurofer’s recent request to initiate a new investigation on hot rolled coils originating in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Iran, Turkey, Serbia and Brazil, could represent a threat for the regional industry, Assofermet warns.

The implementation of AD duties on other countries would create “… potential oligopolistic conditions in the European market,” and “… increased volatility,” which in turn would favour “… speculative behaviour,” Assofermet says.

With the exception of China, none of these countries could represent a real threat to European steel producers. This is due to “… the heterogeneous conditions in those countries which does not allow a coordinated commercial policy.” Moreover, “… none of these countries provides public subsidies comparable to those seen in China,” Sandrini adds.

If the EU follows this strategy, the regional industry could become a closed market. This would eventually favour local steel producers at the expenses of service centres, re-rollers, independent distributors, and, ultimately, the regional manufacturing industry, Assofermet says.