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EU extends steel safeguards another three years

The EU will extend the safeguard measures on imports of steel products for another three years, maintaining the product scope unchanged and allowing for a 3% annual liberalization of the tariff-rate quotas, according to an official notification sent to the WTO and released June 11.

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The current safeguards system, which has governed imports into the EU since 2018, following an import surge, was due to expire on June 30 after three years in operation.

Provisional safeguard measures have been in place since July 2018 following the US' decision in March of that year to implement a 25% import tariff on steel under Section 232.

European mills had urged the European Commission to extend the safeguard measures while steel consumers have voiced opposition to the tariffs amid high prices and tight availability in the European steel market.

Separately, the UK Trade Remedies Authority on June 11 recommended the continuation of import safeguards on 10 categories of steel products, ranging from railway materials to stainless-steel bars, based on tariff rate quotas for three years, and to revoke import curbs on a further nine product categories.

The UK secretary of state for international trade must now decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation, which envisages a progressive annual liberalization of the quotas used over the three years on the controlled products.