Brussels, 31 May 2018 – US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has announced that the US’ Section 232 tariffs will now hit EU steel. As of 1 June, the EU will face a 25% tariff on its exports of the metal to the US. The European Steel Association (EUROFER) condemns the US action and calls on the Commission to swiftly adopt safeguard measures that are broad in scope, comprehensive in the countries covered – but that ensure access to traditional trade flows.
“The US measure is naked protectionism – today is a bad day for the world trade system”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER. “However, what’s done is done – the US’ administration seems not to believe that being close, political, economic and geo-strategic partners is sufficient grounds to prevent the EU from being hit”.
“The EU thus needs to act swiftly in its own interest to defend the internal market from the ‘Section 232 effect’ – the impact of steel deflected from the US border to the largest open steel market in the world: Europe’s”, stressed Mr Eggert.
“EUROFER calls for a quickly-deployed safeguard that covers the full product scope that will be affected – and warns that there cannot be country exclusions if the safeguard is to function. However, the purpose is not to exclude imports: it is preventative remedial action against the threat posed by import surges”, added Mr Eggert.
In the first four months of the 2018, imports have surged by 8.4%, almost certainly as a result of the Section 232 effect. 2017 already represented a high-water mark for imports into the EU – making rapid corrective remedial action all the more imperative.
“We regret that the US has taken this unnecessarily damaging step. We support the Commission in its responses to the US’ trade action – and urge all EU stakeholders to remain united in order to face down both the US’ measure and the incoming inundation of deflected steel products”, concluded Mr Eggert.
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.