Is EC using higher US tariffs as and argument for Safeguard?
Is EC using higher US tariffs as and argument for Safeguard?

16 May 2024 – Is the US government’s announcement of higher tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from China just what the Commission President, who is under suspicion of corruption, needs as an argument to support the Safeguard extension? And the positive US consumer price data is stimulating stock and commodity markets alike.

Is EC using higher US tariffs as an argument in favour of Safeguard?

Has the announcement that US steel and aluminium tariffs are to be significantly increased provided the European Commission and its head Ursula von der Leyen, who is desperate for votes, with an auxiliary argument for extending the EU Safeguard measure beyond June 2024?

New Safeguard moment for the Commission?

It feels a bit like being transported back to 2018, when the then US government introduced Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminium and the European Commission was already using the US tariffs as a half-baked excuse to introduce Safeguard. And this despite its own scientifically proven findings that its own economy would only be marginally affected by the US tariffs, if at all.

EU election gifts on its own behalf?

It is well known that the Commission likes to make use of election gifts for its own members. One example of this is former Commissioner Frans Timmermans and his EU Green Deal gifts to himself and his failed election campaign in the Netherlands.

Arguments urgently needed

The fact that the EU’s argument for the very likely extension of Safeguard beyond 2024 is already more than thin and contrived means that the announcements from the United States will certainly come in handy for Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who has been counted out and is suspected of corruption.

The Commission is only interested in facts for its own sake

In the anti-circumvention proceedings against stainless steel, the Commission was already forced to grudgingly admit, on the basis of evidence provided by the Gerber Group, that the fanciful story of domestic stainless steel manufacturers suffering from a biblical flood of imports from Asia was simply a lie.

“…the fact that steel imports into the Union have been stable for the past 10 years.”

Source: COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) 2024/1268 of 6 May 2024

US Consumer Price Index revives markets

The US Consumer Price Index published yesterday points to a further decline in inflation in the United States. This had a positive effect on the US dollar, but also on base metals such as nickel, copper and aluminium.

Copper benefits in particular

Copper in particular benefited from an expected decline in production in the important copper producer Chile and the prospect of stronger demand for the red metal from China. With a price of well over USD 10,000 per tonne, copper has reached its highest level in two years.

Stock indices at new record highs

The markets were also in a good mood yesterday, which was reflected in new record highs for the DOW, Nasdaq and S&P 500. The German stock index DAX also climbed to a new high on Wednesday and could soon break through the 19,000 point mark.

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