On the 18th July, the European Commission published Regulation 2018/2013, imposing provisional safeguarding measures on twenty-three categories of steel products, but not including fasteners. The measures include quotas for each category. When these quotas are exhausted a 25% tariff will be imposed on imports.
The regulation follows the initiation of a safeguard investigation on 26 categories of steel products on 26th March 2018, all of which were already subject to prior surveillance licensing. The Commission has identified 23 of the product categories for which it deems the situation as critical enough to warrant provisional measures.
The provisional measures, which can remain in force for 200 days, entail the imposition of quotas for each of the product categories, irrespective of the originating country. The continuing investigation will consider whether quotas should be allocated by exporting country.
The regulation exempts the EEA member countries – Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – from the measures. Developing economies are also generally excluded. However, the Regulation Annex defines which developing countries are subject to the provisional measures and for which product categories. These include, amongst others, China, Brazil, India and Turkey.
All quotas are on a ‘first come first served’ basis and will be monitored daily by the Commission’s DG Taxud. Information on the quota used, unused and pending will be displayed on the DG Taxud website.
Where the quotas are exhausted an “out of quota” tariff of 25% will be applied to imports.
The Commission’s preliminary conclusion was that the EU “steel industry is in a situation of threat of serious injury for the 23 product categories under assessment and that this situation is likely to develop into actual serious injury in the foreseeable future. Given the critical circumstances, it is considered that provisional safeguard measures should be taken in order to prevent damage to the EU steel industry which would be difficult to repair before the conclusion of the current investigation.”
The Commission identifies an increasing import trend to the EU prior to the United States applying Section 232 tariffs on steel imports. The imposition of those tariff further increased the potential for import growth as the result of product previously destined for the U.S. market being diverted to the EU market.
The full text of the Regulation in English, which includes an Annex listing the affected products, can be downloaded from: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/july/tradoc_157125.prov.en.L181-2018.pdf