A new set of definitive safeguard measures on steel imports has been published. These will replace the provisional ones which have been in place since July 2018.
These measures on steel imports are laid out in the Official Journal of the European Union as of the 1st February and have now been in effect since the 2nd February. The new measures come after a Commission investigation was launched in March 2018, as part of the European Union’s response to the decision by the United States to impose tariffs on importing steel products. The investigation shows a sharp increase in imported steel products into the EU, as a results of the US tariffs and provides an insight into the damage this may cause EU steelmakers – who are still recovering from overcapacity in the global steel market, and an unparalleled number of unfair trade practices by certain trading partners.
How do the new measures differ from the provisional ones?
The measures concern 26 product categories and consist of tariff-rate quotas above which a duty of 25% will apply. They are fully in line with the EU’s WTO commitments and have been developed with preserving a continuous flow of imports in mind. The new system in place is very similar to the provisional measures which have been in place from July, with some important modifications aimed at minimising trade disruptions and preserving traditional trade arrangements.
Speaking on the implementation of the provisional safeguard measures in July, 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.“
The future looks bright for the EU steel industry
Now that definitive safeguard measures on steel imports are in place, the Commission hopes competition in the European steel market has sufficient choice for the numerous EU users of steel, and that EU steelmakers will benefit from the regulation.
These measure should remain in place for three years; however, they can be reviewed in case of changed circumstances.