EU steel safeguard measures

The European Commission has published the regulation imposing definitive safeguards on steel imported into the EU. This important measure continues the safeguards provisionally imposed in July 2018 and will come into force as of 2 February 2019.

Member states overwhelmingly supported the imposition of these final measures in December 2018. The publication of the measures in the Official Journal puts these definitive safeguards into force tomorrow» said Axel Eggert, Director General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER)., «These measures are completely justified given the large-scale diversion of steel to the EU market, partly as a result of the impact of global overcapacity, distortions and the US’ section 232 measures».

The structure of the final measures differs slightly from the provisional version. While the 0% tariff import quota remains, there are country-specific import quotas for large, traditional steel exporters to the EU and quarterly quotas for the remainder of countries that do not have their own. More worryingly for EUROFER, the quota, which was set at 100% of the average of 2015-2017 during the provisional stage, is immediately enlarged by 5% on the day of the imposition of the final measures. There is another upwards revision of 5% in July.

Steel consumption growth is expected to rise by just 0.5% in 2019, according to EUROFER’s latest Economic and Market Outlook. This means the rise of the quota to around 110% of actual historical imports is many multiples the growth rate of the market.