European protective measures, resulting from the increase in customs duties on imports of steel and aluminium to the US, enter into force on Thursday. The announcement came on Wednesday from the European Commission.
These protective measures aim to control the adverse effects of the increase in US tariffs. Products exported by third countries, for which there are no buyers on the US market risk being redirected on to the European market.
The European Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, explained in a communiqué, “The US tariffs on steel products are causing market distortions, which in turn may lead to significant damage to European steelmakers and their workers.” She went on, “We have no other choice but to instigate protective measures to protect our domestic industry against an increase in imports.”
The Swedish Liberal, who again repeated the Commission’s opposition to all forms of protectionism, stated that these measures do not prevent the European market from remaining open. She believes that traditional trade flows will be maintained. She added, “I am convinced that we must find the right balance between the interests of EU steel producers and those of steel consumers, such as the automobile industry or the construction sector, which depend on imports.”
The Commission will also continue monitoring steel imports, with a view to taking a definite decision at the beginning of next year. Meanwhile, the provisional measures will affect 23 products. Duties of 25% will be applied to these items if the quantities imported exceed the average of the last three years.
The quota will be fixed on a “first come, first served” basis, so as not to penalise any specific exporting country. All countries will be affected, except for some developing countries, which export very little to the EU. European Economic Area countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) will also be exempt from the application of the measure.