EU Steel Producers Disappointed by Decision on Safeguard Measure Revisions
“This is the worst crisis we have seen in decades, and (the decision) represents a failure to exploit the safeguard tool to the fullest possible extent. This may risk thousands of jobs and could cost taxpayers billions if the ensuing closures of steel facilities throughout Europe cannot be prevented by other measures,” said Luis Colunga, IndustriAll Europe deputy general secretary.
“We need an emergency meeting with EU policymakers. Together we can work on solutions to rescue the strategically vital European steel sector. Only a robust domestic industry can reliably contribute to completing the circular economy, continue the transition to carbon neutrality, and ensure the welfare of Europe’s people,” he added.
As steel demand has fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic, the steel association and the union have been advocating for lower import quotas under the EU’s steel safeguard measure, fearing sales and jobs could be lost in a wave of inexpensive foreign steel.
But the European Commission said steel imports, prior to the pandemic, were below threshold levels for the safeguard’s tariffs to kick in. The commission also said other revisions it is making as part of its latest review should be sufficient “to deter potentially harmful stockpiling behavior by any foreign exporters that may try to sell very high amounts of steel in the EU market in an opportunistic manner.”
EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said in a statement that the latest revisions will save thousands of jobs.
“In the difficult circumstances that we witness, the commission must be acting decisively, in full respect of the rules, and that is exactly what we are doing. We also received very strong support from Member States for these measures that, I am convinced, will bring about substantive benefits for EU producers,” he said.