Stainless Espresso: EU alloy and energy surcharges shoot through the roof
Stainless Espresso: EU alloy and energy surcharges shoot through the roof

29 March 2022 – EU alloy surcharges for stainless steel rise by more than $600 per tonne. EU files WTO complaint over UK green energy subsidies. And can there really be an independent “Green Steel” label?

European stainless steel producers significantly increase alloy surcharges

European stainless steel producers have significantly increased alloy surcharges for April 2022. The alloy surcharges per tonne of stainless steel are going up between 550 and 660 dollars. In addition, energy surcharges of 370 to 480 dollars per tonne will be added due to the strong increase in costs.

EU vs. UK: Green subsidies before the WTO

The European Union feels discriminated against by the UK government’s green energy subsidies and has therefore filed a complaint with the World Trade Organisation.

While the Europeans likes to hide its own subsidies, e.g. in the expansion of green energy, in programmes that are difficult to decipher, such as the free allocation of ETS certificates, the Carbon Border Tax CBAM, multi-billion subsidy programmes for the expansion of hydrogen production or the ban on metal scrap exports, any possible misstep outside the European borders is immediately dragged before the WTO if there is even the suspicion that even one dollar has been unfairly subsidised.

Independent Green Steel label possible?

Currently, there is no legal framework for what could ever become green steel. In contrast to the European organic label, which prescribes a 95% share of special and independently verified organically produced ingredients in a food product, there is little sign of this in the case of steel. Rather, there seems to be an effort to pin the label of responsible and sustainable production on its lapel with its own badge.

Without legal requirements, “green steel” remains implausible

As long as there are no legal requirements for a genuine, controlled and legally certified “Green Steel” label, it is irrelevant whether a steel is labelled grey, blue, green or sustainable and responsible by a manufacturer-dominated NGO. And whether the European steel producers would survive the strict independent auditors of the organic industry, who even check every supply chain down to the smallest detail, remains to be seen.

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