The European Commission has announced provisional safeguard measures on imports of a number of steel products will come into effect tomorrow.
It follows “overwhelming support” from member states after the US President Donald Trump imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel and 10% on aluminium last month. The EU then slapped a 25% retaliatory tariff on US steel, aluminium and other products.
The EU’s latest provisional measures concern 23 steel product categories and will take the form of a Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ), i.e. a 25% levy will only be imposed once imports exceed the average number over the last three years.
The quota is allocated on a first-come, first-serve basis, therefore at this stage not allocated by individual exporting country.
The measures, which can remain in place for a maximum of 200 days, are imposed against all countries, with the exception of some developing countries with limited exports to the EU. Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are also exempt.
As a result of the duties applied by the US, exporting steel to the nation has become less attractive and as a consequence, there are indications steel suppliers have diverted some of their exports to the EU.
In order to avoid a sudden increase of imports that would cause further economic problems for EU steel producers – who are already suffering from global overcapacity – the Commission considers the provisional safeguard measures are necessary and justified.
Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “The US tariffs on steel products are causing trade diversion, which may result in serious harm to EU steelmakers and workers in this industry. We are left with no other choice than to introduce provisional safeguard measures to protect our domestic industry against a surge of imports. These measures nevertheless ensure that the EU market remains open and will maintain traditional trade flows.
“I am convinced that strike the right balance between the interest of EU producers and users of steel, like the automotive industry and the construction sector, who rely on imports. We will continue to monitor steel imports in order to take a final decision by early next year, at the latest.”