EC Starts Review of EU Safeguard Measures on Steel
EC Starts Review of EU Safeguard Measures on Steel

9 February 2024 – The European Commission officially announced today, Friday, that the EU Safeguard Measure is to be reviewed for a possible extension. This is backed by 14 member states who had already requested a review from the EC in January 2024.

EC starts review of EU Safeguard Measures on Certain Steel Products

“Notice of initiation concerning the possible extension in time and review of the safeguard measures applicable to imports of certain steel products… “

Source: EU Official Journal, C/2024/839

The European Commission officially announced today, Friday, February 9, 2024, and as we had already predicted in December 2023, that the EU Safeguard Measure on certain steel products, which was due to expire in mid-2024, is to be reviewed for a possible extension at the insistence of 14 EU member states.

In addition, the measure is most likely to be extended to the longest possible and WTO-compliant period of 8 years.

US Section 232 tariffs have come to stay

Since the US Section 232 tariffs of the Trump Administration from 2018 are still in force and it is not to be expected that they could be repealed in the foreseeable future, the EC has now also recognized: “…that there are no elements suggesting that the US will be removing the Section 232 measures on steel”.

The introduction of the US punitive tariffs triggered a backlash from the European Union and led to the existing EU Safeguard Measures against steel imports to Europe in 2019.

German steel regions had called for EU Safeguard extension

Last Wednesday, we reported on the German steel regions’ call for the German government in Berlin to support a continuation of the Safeguard measure and that it is therefore only a matter of time before the EC takes action.

Is the EC making administrative errors again?

So far, there are many indications that the Commission may have made serious administrative errors, similar to the two anti-circumvention proceedings against flat rolled stainless steel originating from Indonesia, Turkey, Taiwan and Vietnam. The European Commission has already received a comprehensive and detailed complaint about the two proceedings mentioned.

What is the Commission’s problem?

At the time of publication of the Notice of Initiation, the registration option for the Safeguard Review had not been activated in the TRON system, nor was the template of the relevant questionnaire available under the link provided by the Commission (as of February 9, 2024, 9:40 am CET). As with the CBAM portal, the EC appears to be suffering from repeated technical difficulties and does not have its technical systems under control. However, the EC is not willing to admit these errors due to the possible legal consequences.

Deadlines are already running

As important deadlines have already begun to tick in order to be able to actively participate in the EU Safeguard Review, things are now likely to get hectic in the Market Protection department at DG Trade.

Tip: Keep a close eye on the Commission

It is therefore advisable for interested parties to keep a very close eye on the Commission’s bureaucratic fingers during this Safeguard Review.

In any case, we are watching very closely and will make every mistake in this Safeguard Review public.

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