G20: Reaffirm free, fair, rules-based international trade and global steel overcapacity reduction efforts

Brussels, 6 July 2017 – World leaders meet tomorrow at the twelfth meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) forum. The European Steel Association (EUROFER) seizes this opportunity to ask participating Heads of State and government to renew their commitment to free, fair and rules-based international trade, and to deal concretely with global steel overcapacity.

“Trade benefits businesses and consumers worldwide,” said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER. “But with the spectre of the deployment of broad protectionist measures on steel because of the US’ Section 232 investigation, as well persistent dumping fuelled by global overcapacity, governments must be ever more committed to enforcing the rules guaranteeing free and fair international trade”.

The US announced a probe into whether imports into the country were a ‘national security’ concern in April 2017. EUROFER has been clear that, as NATO allies of the US, EU-based producers of steel have long proven themselves to be reliable suppliers.

“The 3.2 million tonnes of steel we export to the US are sold under free and fair market conditions. European steel producers are in no sense a threat to US national security. Only a very small proportion of the products exported have any plausible defence or security application. Section 232 is the wrong tool for the US to deploy to defend its steel from the dumping driven by global steel overcapacity, particularly if it harms the US’ allies”, stressed Mr Eggert.

Europe is particularly affected by this overcapacity as the excess production from many countries heads straight for the EU’s open market. Imports from eight of the top ten steel exporting countries to the EU rose last year, with 2016 steel imports into the EU at their highest level since 2007, while EU exports declined by 11%. However, instead of blanket measures, EUROFER calls for a renewed effort in the G20 Steel Overcapacity Forum, established in 2016.

“Until global overcapacity is dealt with in a coherent way, Trade Defence Instruments will continue to play an outsize role in preventing dumping. We continue to appeal to the Commission to strictly impose measures on countries – not just China – that sustain overcapacities and that dump unfairly low-priced steel on the EU market. We will ask the same if the US decision on Section 232 impacts upon EU producers or causes the diversion of US-bound products to the EU market”, concluded Mr Eggert.

The G20 forum is taking place in Hamburg, Germany, between 7-8 July 2017.

About the European Steel Association (EUROFER)

EUROFER 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 170 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.