Little hope of a deal? EU-US Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel still shaky
Little hope of a deal? EU-US Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel still shaky

1 December 2023 – Even after the EU Trade Council meeting, there still seems to be no solution to the steel and aluminium dispute between the EU and the United States. And the LME wins legal dispute over millions of euros in legal action for suspension of nickel trading. But is this enough to win back the trust of traders?

Little hope of a deal? EU-US Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel still shaky

Following the meeting of the EU Trade Council on 27 November 2023, there still seems to be no solution to the steel dispute with the United States. While the United States had complained about the EU’s behaviour and unwavering position in October, the European side has now complained that the US government is sticking too closely to its Section 232 tariffs and thus blocking an agreement.

Time is running out: tariffs loom

And time is running out for both sides. The self-imposed deadline to find an agreement for a Global Arrangement on Sustainable Steel by the end of this year is running out and could quickly lead to the reintroduction of punitive tariffs and the loss of quotas for European steel manufacturers.

LME wins first round in legal dispute

The LME metal exchange has prevailed against the plaintiffs in the proceedings concerning the suspension of nickel trading in March 2022.

The judges based their reasoning on the LME’s trading rule 22, which allows the exchange to suspend trading in the event of market disruption and to cancel or correct trades. These powers are enshrined in the EU MiFID II market regulations and the UK Recognition Requirement Regulations.

Will the judgement be enough to restore confidence?

For the LME, the crisis chapter is not yet closed. But the judgement could help the exchange to regain the trust of users. The exchange had already started trading reforms after the incident and tried to expand its regulatory supervision.

However, it remains to be seen whether confidence in the LME as a benchmark price provider for global trading in industrial metals can be restored. And many commodity traders are left with the open and bitter question: “….what if the LME itself had been responsible for the market disruption?”

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