On March 26, 2018, the European Commission initiated a safeguard investigation on imports of a wide variety of steel products into the European Union ("EU"). The investigation covers 26 product categories, ranging from hot and cold rolled sheets and strips to tubes and pipes.
The investigation was initiated as part of the EU's reaction to the U.S. restrictions on imports of steel and aluminium. The European Commission is worried that steel products destined for the U.S. market may now be redirected to the EU because of the U.S. measures, flooding the market and depressing prices. The European Commission has already been monitoring imports of certain steel products since April 2016 under a surveillance system using automatic import licensing.
A safeguard investigation examines whether the imports of a particular product have increased to such an extent that they cause or threaten serious harm to domestic producers. It lasts between nine and 11 months and can result in the imposition of increased customs duties or (tariff) quotas. Such measures are imposed on imports from all third countries, except possibly developing countries with low import shares.
During the investigation, provisional measures can be imposed for a maximum of 200 days. Definitive measures, if any, may not exceed a duration of four years, extendable to a maximum of eight years.
Interested parties, such as producers, importers, upstream suppliers, etc., wishing to participate in the investigation should make themselves known to the European Commission by Tuesday, April 10, 2018. Such interested parties are also invited to make known their views in writing, submit information, and provide supporting evidence by Monday, April 16, 2018.
Read the notice of initiation, which includes the list of products covered.