EU introduces special levies on steel products this thursday to protect european producers from serious market distortions caused by new u.S. Tariffs.
The additional 25 percent duty will be imposed on imports that enter the EU because of the U.S. Tariffs, the EU commission announced.
Commission head jean-claude juncker, meanwhile, plans to hold a meeting on wednesday (25.7.) travel to u.S. President donald trump and convince him with facts to give in in the trade conflict. "It’s not about fake news, it’s about objective facts," juncker said in brussel. The focus of the discussion will be on how to improve transatlantic trade relations and economic partnership. "I’ll drive there cheerfully and calmly."
Juncker reiterated that the EU is united on trade issues and will not allow itself to be divided. He has already told trump this – but to no great avail. The community of nations will respond to new provocations and is ready for further countermeasures. The U.S. Government recently launched a formal investigation into whether auto imports into the united states raise national security concerns. A similar investigation had also been the basis for the special duty on steel and aluminum products. The EU considers the security argument to be implausible and assumes that it is really only about giving advantages to US producers.
The new levies will not affect the customs clearance of traditional steel imports. These are defined by the EU as the average quantities imported over the past three years. The aim is to prevent carmakers and construction companies that rely on steel imports from suffering from the protective measures because prices are rising.
However, the european automobile manufacturers association (acea) was nonetheless upbeat and stressed that, in view of rising demand for steel, prices were expected to rise despite the exemptions. "These decreases will affect our competitiveness," commented acea secretary general erik jonnaert. In europe, she said, steel prices are already very high.
EU trade commissioner cecilia malmstrom, on the other hand, spoke of a decision aimed at striking the right balance between the interests of european steel producers and steel consumers. "The u.S. Tariffs on steel products are causing a diversion of trade flows that could seriously harm european steel producers and workers," she said. The eu has therefore had no choice but to respond with advance safeguard measures.
The steel industry association pointed to a "massive" increase in import pressure on the eu steel market in the first five months of the year. Projected to the end of the year, 47.8 million tons of steel entered the EU, he said. This was 18 percent more than in the same period of the previous year. Steel association head hans jurgen kerkhoff hailed the eu tariffs as a "clear sign" to protect the industry from the consequences of protectionism. "The eu must now consistently maintain its course and, as a next step, also introduce definitive tariffs," kerkhoff demanded.
In june, the EU commission had already imposed retaliatory tariffs on US products such as whiskey, jeans and motorcycles. They are also a reaction to the imposition of special U.S. Taxes on steel and aluminum products, which europeans see as incompatible with world trade organization (WTO) rules.
The EU safeguards now in place are so-called pre-emptive measures that can remain in place for a maximum of 200 days. Permanent safeguard measures could be adopted after the final conclusion of the current market investigation. According to the EU commission, this should end at the beginning of next year at the latest.
Reason for the advance decreases are interim results. They clearly show that more foreign steel products are being directed to the EU because of the special US tariff of 25 percent introduced in march. 23 of the 28 product categories investigated are affected by the early withdrawals.