EC reviews possible extension of steel safeguard measure

The European Commission (EC) has announced the possible extension of safeguard measures applicable to imports of certain steel products, including some from Vietnam, according to the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Earlier, on February 1, 2019, the EC imposed a definitive safeguard measure on certain steel products. The measure currently in force consists of a tariff rate quota, based on historical imports, applicable to 26 product categories. Where the relevant tariff-rate quota is exhausted, an additional duty of 25% is levied.

The safeguard measure was imposed for an initial period of three years, until June 30, 2021.

According to the EC’s notice, it received a substantiated request by a number of member states to examine whether the current safeguard measure should be extended.

The request contains evidence suggesting that the safeguard measure continue to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury. The request argues that the risk of trade diversion continues and if the measure was lifted, the industry would face a flood of imports that would have a very negative impact on its economic performance.

Accordingly, the investigation will focus on its assessment, notably, on whether the safeguard measure continues to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury, whether there is evidence that union producers are adjusting and whether a prolongation would be in the union's interest. The investigation will also determine the appropriate duration of the extension (if any).

A determination was expected to be made by June 30 at the latest.

According to the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam, among Vietnam’s steel products exported to the EU, four product categories are currently subject to the safeguard measure in the form of a tariff rate quota, including non-alloy and other alloy cold rolled sheets, organic coated sheets, stainless cold rolled sheets and strips and seamless tubes.

The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam urged relevant industry associations and manufacturers to make submissions to the EU as requested, adding that close watch would be kept on the investigation to provide updates and raise actions to protect the legitimate rights of Vietnam’s steel industry.

According to the Vietnam Steel Association, Vietnam’s steel export to the EU accounted for just around 4% of Vietnam’s total steel exports in recent years.

Customs statistics showed that Vietnam exported 9.86 million tonnes of steel in 2020, worth around US$5.26 billion.

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