Commission initiates an investigation to decide whether to prolong the steel safeguard measure

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission has initiated an investigation to assess whether the safeguard measure currently in place on imports of certain steel products should be prolonged beyond 30 June 2021. The initiation of this investigation follows a duly substantiated request received from twelve EU Member States. The Commission will in its investigation determine, in accordance with the requirements of EU and WTO rules, whether the safeguard measure continues to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury to the EU steel industry and whether the industry is adjusting. The investigation will also include a Union interest assessment. The investigation will be concluded by the expiry date of the existing safeguard measure on 30 June 2021.

Next steps

All interested parties have 15 days to make their views known, and subsequently will be able to cross-comment on other parties’ submissions. The Commission has also issued questionnaires to EU producers to assess their economic situation. The Commission will thoroughly assess all information received in the course of the investigation. It will subsequently make a proposal to Member States for a vote. The proceeding will also include consultations with third country governments. A decision will have to be taken before the end of June 2021.

Background

The Commission introduced a provisional safeguard measure on imports of certain steel products in July 2018. The measure aimed to prevent economic damage for EU steel producers, given the risk of further import increases linked, inter alia, to the introduction of trade restrictions by the US on steel products. The Commission confirmed the measure, which is fully in line with WTO commitments, in early 2019 for a period until end of June 2021. It takes the form of Tariff-Rate-Quotas (‘TRQs’) reflecting traditional trade flows, above which a 25% duty is levied on imports. The Commission has reviewed the functioning of the measure twice (in October 2019 and July 2020). Recently, it has adapted the TRQ volumes to reflect the exit of the UK from the EU customs union as of 1 January 2021.

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