According to a joint statement made by 33 European steel producers such as ArcelorMittal Europe, Tata Steel Europe and Salzgitter, the European steel industry’s survival is at further, serious risk because the European Commission’s steel safeguard review proposal does not consider the sharp collapse in demand following the Covid-19 pandemic. The companies believe that the tariff-free quota should reflect EU steel demand.
The joint statement said that steel demand has fallen by 50 percent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March. The industry has cut production sharply to adapt to these changed circumstances. Meanwhile, countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Russia have continued or are restoring steel production and stockpiling. The imminent risk of cheap steel offers flooding the market would hamper the recovery of European companies and the survival of one of Europe’s strategic industries. The current proposal could massively boost the market share of imports while a huge part of EU production capacity sits idle.
The companies urged the European Commission and EU member states to improve the proposal and adapt it into a crisis-oriented review, effectively safeguarding the European steel industry. They have requested a tariff-free quota that reflects actual market conditions.
According to the steel producers’ request, the import quotas should be reduced considerably, and the transfer of unused quotas to subsequent quarters and the access to the residual quotas for countries with their own quotas prevented.
“This crisis requires a serious review that takes into account the world as it is today. The steel safeguard being reviewed was created for the pre-Covid period. Now it needs to be adapted to the post-Covid world,” the companies stated.