The European Commission's recent decision to extend steel import safeguards until June 2024, as revealed in a document obtained by Argus, underscores the commission's commitment to protecting the Union steel industry and promoting economic recovery. The safeguards will now encompass all-origin automotive-grade hot-dipped galvanised (HDG) coils falling under the 4B category.
A review conducted by the commission examined the possibility of terminating the safeguards early. It concluded that an increase in import volumes could pose a significant threat to meaningful economic recovery and the efforts made by the Union steel industry to adjust to higher levels of imports.
Moreover, the commission determined that there is no shortage of steel within the bloc due to the safeguards. It also noted that recent changes to the Section 232 tariffs did not alter the risk of trade diversion to the European Union.
Taking into account a rather gloomy forecast for the global steel sector, including the Union market, for the years 2023-2024, the commission highlighted the presence of high uncertainty caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, inflation, rising energy prices, and an economic slowdown.
As part of the decision, the commission adjusted the list of countries to which the measures apply. Brazil has been added to the safeguards for hot-rolled coils (HRC) and cold-rolled coils (CRC). Additionally, most developing countries are now exempt from non-auto-grade HDG quotas. However, key suppliers such as Vietnam, Turkey, and India still face quotas for the 4A product category, while the auto-grade 4B measures apply to all-origin HDG.
Despite a slight increase in passenger car registrations in recent months, the EU automotive sector continues to grapple with recovery challenges throughout this year.