The safeguard measures launched by the EU Commission last year in response to the introduction of the US steel tariffs and to the massive consequent trade diversions have not been able to restrict the import surge. In 2018 steel imports into the EU rose by 12 percent to nearly 30 million tons (data by Eurofer).
The deterioration of the economic situation in the EU and numerous loopholes that make it easy for exporters to bypass the safeguard clauses have undermined the protective effect of the measures, and now several voices are calling for further steps to address the issue. One is ArcelorMittal Chairman Lakshmi Mittal who told to the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (as reported by Reuters) he's concerned about the situation and that the actions taken “were not effective”. He added that it would be negative if the EU Commission were to relax tariff protections for the steel industry, as planned for July 2019 (The EU steel safeguard measures explained).
According to Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the German Steel Federation, a further softening of EU steel safeguards “would be irresponsible”. The planned increase in quotas in July 2019 would completely disrupt the protective effect of the measures. “The burden of US protectionism should not be dumped on the backs of steel companies in Europe," Kerkhoff continued.
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Picture by Stahl-Zentrum | Georgsmarienhütte