Trade Cases

EUROFER Calls for Solidarity Against U.S. Tariffs

Written by Sandy Williams

The European steel association EUROFER urged EU policymakers, member states and industry stakeholders to show solidarity against the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

U.S. tariffs are the wrong approach to dealing with the global overcapacity problem in steel, said EUROFER President Geert Van Poelvoorde at a press conference earlier this week.

“We are facing another crisis, triggered by President Trump’s invocation of Section 232. The 25 percent tariffs across the board present a real threat. Not only for the EU and global steel industries, but also to the global trading system and the value chains that derive from it,” said Van Poelvoorde.

Van Poelvoorde expects steel imports deflected from the United States to end up in Europe. In 2017, EU steel imports totaled 40 million metric tons, a new peak for the region and higher than the 35 million metric tons that arrived in the U.S.   

“EUROFER estimates that Section 232 could lead to a further 13 million tons coming to Europe – and this is a conservative estimation,” emphasized Van Poelvoorde. The European steel industry “clearly requires robust defense arrangements” and should consider “all legitimate options to address the threat,” he added.

“The challenge we face today ultimately has its roots in the global overcapacity the industry continues to wrestle with. It is more crucial than ever that governments act decisively to address the root causes of global excess capacity. This includes the elimination of capacity and market distorting subsidies and government support measures worldwide, pursued in the framework of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity,” stated Van Poelvoorde.

“It is important to stress that the steel industry is not seeking anything more than free and fair, rules-based trade. The U.S. helped create this current system of rules-based trade, and we very much hope this is the system they will sustain,” he concluded.

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