Traders concerned over UK steel quotas

UK steel traders and importers face increasing uncertainty over the state of January-March safeguard quotas, now in force following Brexit, as the system failed to update yesterday.

The UK system did not update because of “technical issues”, so quota claims will be accepted even though certain product quotas could already be exhausted. Once a quota claim has been made, the goods are in “free circulation” and cannot be put into storage or a bonded warehouse to avoid duties becoming payable.

Participants will be paying particular attention to rebar, hollow sections and hot-dip galvanised coil, which typically have been the quickest to exhaust under the European steel safeguard. Trading firms suggest hollow sections could exhaust quickly, although not to the extent that they have in Europe. The European quota system did update yesterday, showing more than 106,000t of Turkish hollow sections were awaiting allocation, already surpassing the duty-free quota of 66,577t for the January-March period.

Russian rebar was also close to its limit, with more than 48,000t awaiting allocation out of a total quota of 56,951t.

By Colin Richardson