Agoria fears an increase in prices for stainless steel-based products, if the European Union goes through with its plan to put an anti-dumping tax on imports of this type of steel from China and Taiwan. “If the price of stainless steel is artificially maintained at a high level through a barrier in the European market, the cost of production will go up for numerous Small and Medium companies. They will then have to increase their prices”, says Marc Lambotte, CEO of Agoria. In Belgium, stainless steel is a base material for hundreds of companies, which have 10,000 workers in total, according to Agoria. “Even though imports from China and Taiwan represent just 10% of stainless steel deliveries to the EU, they affect market prices. At the request of three big European stainless steel producers, which together almost have a monopoly on the European market, there will now be a temporary tax on stainless steel imports from China and Taiwan. It could become permanent in 5 months’ time”, said the Federation on Technological Industry in a press release.
This risks forcing the prices of both European and non-European steel up. This situation favours stainless steel providers in the short term, but Agoria warns of long term consequences. “An increase in the price of stainless steel would make the production of finished products made from it less profitable here. On the other hand, the import of finished products that contain stainless steel would become more profitable. Our producers could suffer and our European suppliers will also lose clients”, says Mr Lambotte. Agoria calls on the Anti-dumping Committee to reject the European Commission’s proposal.
Numerous household articles contain stainless steel: pots, bins or even irons. Stainless steel is also used in the production of industrial products, such as drums for chemical products or exhaust pipes for cars. It is also used in industrial processes by food companies, adds Agoria.