By Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1013 of 17.07.2018, the European Commission adopted interim safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products. The measures entered into force on 19 July 2018 for a period of 200 calendar days. Once a certain tariff quota has been reached, additional duties of 25% may be levied on imports. Steel companies should now check whether they are importing the products concerned and examine the available tariff quotas in detail.
Provisional protective measures necessary
On 26 March 2018, the European Commission launched an investigation into the need for safeguard measures on imports of certain steel products into the European Union. This was the Commission’s response to the US punitive tariffs on steel and aluminium. The punitive duties have made the import of steel and aluminium products into the United States less attractive to companies. As a result, trade diversions and increased imports of goods into the EU occurred. The Commission takes a critical view of this and saw sufficient evidence that import rates for certain steel products could cause serious damage to the Union producers concerned.
Tariff quotas and additional duties of 25%
The safeguard measures now adopted provide for tariff quotas and additional duties of 25% for certain steel products, covering steel products in 23 categories.
In order to maintain traditional import volumes into the European Union, the additional duties will not be incurred until the tariff quota is reached. The quotas are calculated for each product group concerned on the basis of the average import volume over the last three years. It should be noted that the measures taken by the European Commission remain in force for the time being for only 200 calendar days and the import volumes are therefore calculated down to this period.
The tariff quotas apply in principle to imports from all countries of the steel products listed in the Regulation. However, exemptions are foreseen for imports from European Economic Area countries (Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland) and for certain imports from developing countries.
The further course of action of entrepreneurs in the field of steel product imports should now be well considered. The first step is to check whether the Commission’s own products are covered by the safeguard measures. In addition, companies should develop a strategy to benefit as much as possible from the existing tariff quotas and thus avoid the high additional tariffs.
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