US permits EU to supply 3.3mt of steel

European exporters to the US will be given the opportunity to export up to 3.3 million tonnes/year of steel products as part of the US-EU steel and aluminium trade agreement signed last weekend.

The volumes of tariff-free quotas have been calculated on the basis of 2015-2017 exports from the EU to the US. The quotas are divided into 54 product categories and allocated specifically for each European country of origin on a quarterly basis.

“Any unused TRQ volume from the first quarter of the year, up to 4% of the allocated quota for that quarter, will roll over to the third quarter; any unused TRQ volume from the second quarter of the year, subject to the same limit, will roll over into the fourth quarter; and any unused TRQ volume from the third quarter, subject to the same limit, will roll over into the first quarter of the following year,” explains an Office of the US Trade Representative document.

According to the agreement, only steel products “melted and poured” in the EU will be eligible for the new tariff-free quotas. Productions made from extra-EU billet and slab, for example, will not be included, Kallanish notes.

In recent years a number of producers applied for exclusions from the US Section 232 measures for specific products to be sold from Europe to the US. These exclusions will remain in place for a further period of two years and these products will not be calculated in the allocated new 3.3mt quotas allocated.

Earlier last week, Eurofer calculated that during the last year some 1mt of steel products were exported from the EU to US under the exclusions. As a result, potentially 4.3m t/y of different steel products could be sold from the EU to the US going forward.

Annual reviews of the quotas will be conducted by the US to calculate levels of local apparent steel use and adjust the quotas up or down by some 3% for every 6% of changes detected. If the changes in demand are below 6%, no adjustments will be applied. From April 2022, under the request of the EU, a further quarterly review can be requested to address any substantial under-use of the quotas.

Emanuele Norsa Italy