The initiation follows a substantiated request received from fourteen EU Member States. The Commission will determine, in accordance with the 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 Commission will also actively reach out to steel users in the EU to assess whether any potential prolongation of the measure would be in the overall interest of the Union. The Commission will also assess, whether in case of a prolongation, any technical adjustments to the measure would be necessary.
The investigation will be concluded and a decision taken before the expiry date of the existing safeguard measure on 30 June 2024.
All interested parties (including third-country exporting producers and governments, as well as EU users, importers and producers) have until 26 February 2024 to make their views known. They will also be able to 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 and will subsequently make a proposal to Member States for a vote. In the event of a proposal to prolong the measure, consultations with third country governments will also take place once a proposal is ready. The deadline to make a decision is 30 of June 2024.
Under WTO rules a safeguard can only be in place for a maximum duration of 8 years – in the case of the EU steel safeguard that is 30 June 2026, therefore a potential prolongation could be for a maximum of two additional years.
The Commission introduced a provisional safeguard measure on imports of certain steel products in July 2018. The measure aimed to prevent economic damage to 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 (US Section 232 measure). The Commission confirmed the measure, in early 2019, until end of June 2021. Following a prolongation review investigation, the measure was subsequently extended until 30 June 2024.
It takes the form of Tariff-Rate-Quotas (‘TRQs’) reflecting traditional trade flows, above which a 25% duty is levied on imports. Since July 2019 the TRQ level has increased over 20% on account of liberalisation. The Commission has reviewed the functioning of the measure three times (in October 2019, June 2020, and June 2022). Recently, in June 2023 it concluded an investigation whereby it determined that there were no grounds for an early termination of the measure.
For more information
- Publication date
- 9 February 2024
- Directorate-General for Trade
- Trade topics
- Trade defence