On 18 July 2018, the Official Journal published Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1013 of 17 July 2018 imposing provisional safeguard measures with regard to imports of certain steel products. On 26 March 2018, the Commission published a Notice of Initiation of a safeguard investigation concerning imports of 26 steel product categories (2018/C 111/10) in the Official Journal. The Commission decided to initiate the investigation in the light of sufficient evidence that imports of those products might cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the Union producers concerned. On 28 June, the investigation was extended to two additional product categories. There was also a high risk of further increase of imports resulting from trade diversion due to the measures against imports of steel adopted by the United States under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 (‘Section 232’). The 28 product categories (‘the product concerned’ or the ‘product categories concerned’) are all covered by the steel surveillance mechanism introduced by the Commission in May 2016. They are also subject to the US tariff measures under Section 232.

Ultimately, it was decided to impose provisional safeguards on 23 product categories, which, together with the CN codes under which these products are currently classified, are listed in Annex I to the Regulation. The safeguards consist of quotas based on the average imports over the past three years. The quota is allocated on a first come first serve basis, thus at this stage not allocated by individual exporting country. When the quotas for a category are reached, further imports will be subject to a 25% additional duty. The safeguards will not apply to the EFTA EEA States (Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein) and to most of the developing countries listed in Annex IV. However, the safeguards will apply to certain product categories from the following developing countries, however: Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Moldova, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, FYR Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, Viet Nam, as indicated in Annex IV.

The Commission announced that these measures will address the diversion of steel from other countries to the EU market as a result of the recently imposed US tariffs.

The Commission announcement says that the Commission received overwhelming support for these measures from the EU Member States.

The provisional safeguard measures will come into effect on Thursday 19 July and can remain in place for a maximum of 200 days. All interested parties will now have the opportunity to comment on the findings of the investigation so far. The Commission will take these comments into consideration in order to reach its final conclusion, at the latest by early 2019. If all conditions are met, definitive safeguard measures may be imposed as a result.