Anti-dumping duties to help Europe’s steel industry

downloadEuropean Commission decided to bring in provisional anti-dumping duties on the import of a high-value added steel product from foreign countries. Among those to benefit from the measures will be Tata Steel, which produces the grain-oriented electrical steel (“GOES”), used in power transformers, at its Orb plant in South Wales. It is also produced by ArcelorMittal at its Frydek Mistek plant in the Czech Republic.

Eurofer, the body representing European steel producers, said the decision to impose provisional duties would restore free trade in the European market at “non-injurious” prices. It added that the measures were essential for maintaining sustainable financial health, and the highest possible number of manufacturing jobs in the EU. The European Commission began an investigation into possible dumping by foreign producers in August last year, following a complaint lodged by Eurofer earlier in the year.

In an official document the Commission said it had concluded the industry had suffered “significant” and “material” injury by the sale of the steel by foreign producers, not just at dumped prices but also often below costs. Dumping exerted “significant” pricing pressure, forcing them to sell at low prices, hitting an industry already facing challenges, despite having taking significant cost-cutting measures. It rejected the assertions of some of those who were consulted during the investigation that the European industry was not competitive and had structural problems. Though only a provisional measure (it remains to be seen if permanent duties are brought in six months time) the development will be a positive for ArcelorMittal and Tata Steel, both of which produce the high-value added product.

“We welcome measures that encourage free trade and support a level playing field,” said an ArcelorMittal spokesperson. Earlier this year, the Commission brought in provisional tariffs on the import of stainless steel cold rolled sheet from China and Taiwan and has launched an investigation into the import of another steel variety from China (High Fatigue Performance rebar).

The EU is the world’s second largest producer of steel after China, producing 11 per cent of global output, according to European Commission figures. However, despite a recovery in demand, and an action plan for competitiveness brought in by the EU two years ago, demand remains nearly 30 per cent below pre-crisis levels.

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