EU to impose import restrictions on steel

The Commission is to introduce import quotas for steel on 27 March in order to protect the EU market from the expected surge in steel imports, due to the introduction of punitive duties by the US.

The Commission is expected to impose tariffs of between 14.9 and 26 percent on all imports above set quotas for 15 categories of steel products.

The safeguard measures would affect imports of around 5.7 million tonnes of steel over the initial 200-day period of their operation, or 40 per cent of EU steel imports.

The EU is already experiencing an increase in imports of steel in the aftermath of the introduction of tariffs by the US.


The US government branded the planned EU measures as "protectionist" and announced it will consider challenging the EU's actions at the World Trade Organisation.


The world steel market faces significant overcapacity and the US has been slow to introduce the necessary restructuring measures. More than 30 US steel producers have gone bankrupt over the last four years.

The US International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled at the end of 2001 that foreign producers had been flooding the US market with cheap imports, and recommended that the US administration should introduce import tariffs for steel. On 5 March, President George Bush announced the imposition of tariffs of between 8 percent and 30 percent on a range of products from Europe, Asia and Latin America.


The EU tariffs will come into force within a week if the Commission approves them on 27 March.


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