The European Commission voted to adopt definitive measures on imported steel products from all non-European Economic Area (EEA) countries following the safeguard proceeding launched in March 2018. However, certain countries in which the Commission has signed an Economic Partnership Agreement will be exempted from the scope of the measures. This list includes countries such as Botswana, Cameroon, Fiji, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.
The measures will consist of a country-specific quota based on average imports from 2015-2017 for 26 steel product categories to counter “trade diversion” due to the U.S. Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum products. Imports above the tariff-rate quota will be subject to a 25% ad valorem duty. The safeguard measures go into effect at the beginning of February 2019 and will remain in place until July 16, 2021.
The 26 steel categories consist of the following steel products:
- Non-Alloy and Other Alloy Hot-Rolled Sheets and Strips;
- Non-Alloy and Other Alloy Cold-Rolled Sheets;
- Electrical Sheets (other than Grain Oriented Electrical Steels, or GOES);
- Metallic Coated Sheets;
- Organic Coated Sheets;
- Tin Mill Products;
- Non-Alloy and Other Alloy Quarto Plates;
- Stainless Hot-Rolled Sheets and Strips;
- Stainless Cold-Rolled Sheets and Strips;
- Stainless Hot Rolled Quarto Plates
- Non-Alloy and Other Alloy Merchant Bars and Light Sections;
- Stainless Bars and Light Sections;
- Stainless Wire Rod;
- Non-Alloy and Other Alloy Wire Rod;
- Angles, Shapes, and Sections of Iron or Non-Alloy Steel;
- Sheet Piling;
- Railway Material;
- Gas Pipes;
- Hollow Sections;
- Seamless Stainless Tubes and Pipes;
- Other Seamless Tubes;
- Large Welded Tubes;
- Other Welded Pipes;
- Non-Alloy and Other Alloy Cold Finished Bars; and
- Non-Alloy Wire.
A comprehensive list of the steel categories subject to the tariff-rate quota can be found in Annex II of the EU’s notification to the WTO to impose safeguard measures.
There is currently no company exclusion process for the EU safeguard measures.
The Commission circulated the notification to impose safeguard measures to all WTO members. According to the notification, countries with a “significant supply interest” will get a specific tariff-rate quota, while all other countries will import under a “residual quota”. Any remaining balance of the quota for each product category will become available to all exporters in the last quarter of the period.