EU steel safeguard published; EUROFER welcomes Commission’s decisive action to deal with import surges

Brussels, 18 July 2018 – The provisional steel safeguard regulation – which will defend the EU’s internal market from surges of steel imports in the wake of the US’ Section 232 measures – has now been published. This provisional measure is a global Tariff Rate Quota (TRQ) with a 100% quota based on average imports over the past three years on 23 product categories; imports would only face a 25% tariff were the quota to be exceeded.


“The Commission has received overwhelming support for this vital safeguard measure from both member states and business”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER). “The measure will go someway to ensuring the continued stability of the internal market for steel and ensure that EU steel producers do not suffer extreme surges of imports of steel deflected away from the now constricted US market”.

“Moreover, users of steel will still be able to access ‘traditional’ steel trade flows without any tariff and at the highest EU import level ever. The past few years have seen imports rise up to 30.6 million tonnes of steel in 2017 – a rise of 62% compared to 2013”, added Mr Eggert.

The safeguard has left out a small number of product categories. It also allows for certain countries’ products to be excluded if their share of imports of a given category is less than 3% of total imports, and the country itself is classed by the Commission as being a ‘developing country’. This means that economies such as China and Turkey provisionally escape safeguards on some products. EEA countries have been excluded from the measures because of their close economic links to the EU. Finally, the quota portion of the safeguard is on a first-come-first-served basis, meaning there will be a race to fill the quota by exporters: a shipping clause present in the regulation even means that deliveries already en route will not be affected by the measures.

“The mere inkling of a potential safeguard has encouraged steel exporting countries to flood the market with deflected steel: a 10% rise was observed in the first quarter of 2018[1], over and above the record highs of the same period in 2017”, emphasised Mr Eggert. “Steel exporters can be expected to continue this effort to inundate the EU market up until the point that the quota is filled. This front-loading could well do the damage the safeguard is designed to prevent, which is why EUROFER suggested a country-specific and quarterly Tariff Rate Quota right from the outset”.

“We nevertheless firmly welcome the Commissions decisive efforts in its investigation and hope that any shortcomings in the new safeguard can be ironed out in time for the final measure in 200 days’ time”, concluded Mr Eggert.

Provisional Safeguard Regulation

The European Commission’s publication of the Provisional Safeguard Investigation in the Official Journal can be found: here

About the European Steel Association (EUROFER)

EUROFER AISBL is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.

About the European steel industry

The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 320,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 160 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 22 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.

Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material, steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and fostering sustainable development in Europe.

[1] Recital 28 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1013 of 17 July 2018 imposing provisional safeguard measures with regard to imports of certain steel products,