EU Safeguard Review opens with tough claims
EU Safeguard Review opens with tough claims

25 November 2022 – Tough claims in the dispute over the EU Safeguard measure on certain steel products are dominating the opening round of the review of the market protection measure, which has been in place since 2019, triggered by a WTO ruling. A truckers’ strike paralyzes South Korean ports. And is the EU already considering the use of new unratified trade defense tools?

Tough claims in dispute over EU safeguard measure.

The European Commission (EC) was ordered by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the end of May 2022 to improve the justification for the EU Safeguard measure introduced in 2019.

According to insiders, the review subsequently initiated by the EC is said to have already opened in the first round with tough demands from Turkey, among others, for an immediate repeal of the Safeguard measure.

Will the EU Safeguard measure be lifted?

Overall, in view of the current statements of the various countries and parties involved, it looks as if a repeal of Safeguard without replacement will not take place.

Is a new Safeguard investigation coming now?

The present facts could rather contribute to the fact that actors like the European Steel Manufacturers Association EUROFER and the European Commission could be tempted to a new Safeguard investigation with currently not yet definable outcome.

Moreover, the Chinese government’s demand to terminate Safeguard immediately cannot really be taken seriously.

South Korean trucker strike

Access to South Korea’s two busiest container ports, Busan and Gwangyang, has been blocked, causing cargo traffic to drop by nearly 60% of normal levels.

The blockades come as 25,000 truck drivers, who are members of the Cargo Truckers Solidarity Union, went on strike again today demanding a minimum wage system to offset the rise in fuel prices.

In Pohang, a major industrial area, incoming and outgoing shipments were delayed, including a nearly 10,000 MT shipment from a major South Korean steel producer.

Is EU already planning to deploy new trade defense tools?

The EU Council has yet to give its approval, but it is possible that the new EU trade defense tools against foreign subsidies will soon see their first use.

After Europe’s failure to finally grow up and not constantly stick to the gifts of other nations, Brussels seems to be already thinking about the use of new market protection measures as a counter to the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which has not even been ratified yet.

If such a close ally and important trading partner as the United States is already being considered for use, what does it look like with regard to countries like India, Indonesia or China?

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