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EU extends investigation into steel imports on 'exceptional circumstances'

The European Commission extended the deadline of an investigation into steel imports, saying its scope was "unprecedented."

The probe, launched March 26, came in reaction to U.S. tariffs on steel imports and over worries that dynamics in the steel market would shift, flooding the EU with steel once bound for the U.S.

EU regulations stipulate that the investigation is, barring "exceptional circumstances," to finish within nine months, but can be extended for up to two months. The European Commission set its new deadline for Feb. 1, 2019.

"The collection and analysis of such vast amounts of information received has required a significant amount of time and resources," the European Commission said in a Dec. 19 notice.

The European Commission said that as it already put measures in place that penalize some steel imports in a quota and tariff system, the extension of the investigation would not cause damage to the domestic steel industry.