The leaders of 45 key players in the European steel industry are calling for urgent action from policymakers to overcome the market-distorting effects of steel diverted into the EU since the US imposed 25% tariffs on steel imports in 2018.
In an open letter to EU heads of states and the EU institutions, the ceos talk of ‘a sudden and markedly negative shift in the European steel industry’s prospects’.
‘The severe consequences are now plain to see. Announcements have been made of plant closures or big cuts in production across the EU. Thousands of jobs are immediately at risk,’ the letter goes on.
They are calling for safeguarding measures from 1 July and a crisis meeting to discuss the problems. The situation is underpinned by long-term trends such as a global overcapacity in steel and the use of the EU market as a ‘dumping ground for the world’s excess capacity’.
Import hike since 2013
Imports have more than doubled since 2013, reaching nearly 30 million tonnes in the wake of the US steel import tariffs, according to the letter reproduced on the European Steel Association (Eurofer) website.
But EU steel demand has increased only marginally since then and is expected to drop in 2019. Additionally, the EU economy is faltering while prices for raw materials and energy are high and volatile. The ceos point out that CO2 emission costs are five times higher than at the beginning of 2018 and borne by EU steel producers but not by steel imports into the EU.
Immediate action call
‘Europe’s steel industry is in crisis because of these external factors – and yet as a strategic sector it underpins the survival of entire European value chains.’
The letter calls on EU Member States, European Parliament, and the
European Commission to:
• Work to stop the imports and take immediate action by strengthening the EU’s steel safeguard measures from 1 July
• Convene an emergency meeting with the European steel industry
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