Brussels, 26 June 2018 – A coalition of downstream users of steel – including the automotive, construction equipment, agriculture machinery, home appliance and technology industry sectors – has written to the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, to express concerns on the safeguard investigation into steel products, launched in March.
The European Commission initiated the safeguard investigation in response to US restrictions on steel and aluminum, with the aim of preventing a surge of steel imports into the EU (‘trade deflection’). The potential result of this procedure would be the introduction of import tariffs or quotas.
“European steel is and will remain an integral part of our supply chains,” the letter states. “Nevertheless, the application of ever greater layers of protection for it will ultimately only have a negative impact on downstream users of these products. Therefore, we are convinced that the imposition of safeguard measures is not in Europe’s interest.”
Trade data for many of the product categories under investigation do not show evidence of a sudden and sharp increase in imports, the signatories to the letter argue. What is more, European steel producers are in good health, reporting high profits in 2017 and similar outlooks for 2018. Capacity utilisation in the EU steel sector is also currently high, with some producers even experiencing a shortage of capacity leading to increased prices and longer lead times.
Policy makers should also be aware that should steel imports increase in the coming months, then trade deflection could be just one of many different factors influencing this trend. Indeed, an increased demand for steel in manufacturing, metalworking and construction is foreseen in 2018 and beyond. EU steel producers themselves predict that demand for steel in the EU will increase by up to 2% this year, so in this positive economic climate it can be expected that imports will also increase.
It is vital for the industries concerned to have the ability to procure raw materials and semi-finished products of good quality at competitive prices. Many steel products are already heavily subject to anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures. “The imposition of further measures would put downstream users under yet more pressure in their fight for global competitiveness,” the letter cautions.
Notes for editors
- The signatories to the letter are ACEA, APPLiA, CECE, CEMA, CLEPA, Metal Packaging Europe, Orgalime, and T&D Europe.
- ACEA represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus manufacturers: BMW Group, DAF Trucks, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford of Europe, Honda Motor Europe, Hyundai Motor Europe, Iveco, Jaguar Land Rover, PSA Group, Renault Group, Toyota Motor Europe, Volkswagen Group, Volvo Cars, and Volvo Group.
- Contact: Cara McLaughlin, Communications Director [email protected].
- More information: www.acea.be | @ACEA_eu.
- APPLiA is a Brussels-based trade association that provides a single, consensual voice for the home appliance industry in Europe. It promotes the industry’s general mission to increase product innovation while reducing the environmental impact of appliances.
- APPLiA members produce the following type of appliances: large appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, ovens, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers; small appliances such as vacuum cleaners, irons, toasters and toothbrushes; heating, ventilation and air conditioning appliances such as air conditioners, heat pumps and local space heaters. The home appliance industry is an important European economic player, generating wealth – the total annual turnover of the industry in Europe is €47.6bn (2016); providing good employment – total employment as a result of the presence of the sector: approximately 889.192 jobs; direct employment: 202.089 jobs; investment in the future: €1.4bn contribution to research and development activities in Europe.
- More information: www.applia-europe.eu | @APPLiA_Europe.
- CECE, the Committee for European Construction Equipment, represents the interests of 1,200 construction equipment manufacturers through national trade associations in 13 European countries: Germany, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Russia and Turkey. CECE manufacturers generate €40 billion in yearly revenue, export a sizeable part of the production, employ around 300,000 people overall. They invest and innovate continuously to deliver equipment with highest productivity and lowest environmental impact. Efficiency, safety and high-precision technologies are key.
- More information: www.cece.eu | @CECE_Europe.
- CEMA is the European association representing the agricultural machinery industry. With 10 national member associations, the CEMA network represents both large multinational companies and numerous European SMEs active in this sector.
- CEMA includes 4,500 manufacturers of agricultural equipment producing 450 different types of machines, and generating an aggregated annual turnover of more than €28 billion. 135,000 people are directly employed in the sector, with a further 125,000 people working in distribution and maintenance.
- More information: www.cema-agri.org | @CEMAagri.
- CLEPA is the European Association of Automotive Suppliers. 121 of the world’s most prominent suppliers for car parts, systems and modules and 23 National trade associations and European sector associations are members of CLEPA, representing more than 3,000 companies, employing 5 million people and covering all products and services within the automotive supply chain. European automotive suppliers invest €22bn in RDI per year. Based in Brussels, Belgium, CLEPA is recognised as the natural discussion partner by the European Institutions, United Nations and fellow associations (ACEA, JAMA, MEMA, etc.).
- More information: www.clepa.be | @CLEPA_eu.
- Metal Packaging Europe gives Europe’s rigid metal packaging industry a unified voice, by bringing together manufacturers, suppliers, and national associations. We proactively position and support the positive attributes and image of metal packaging through joint marketing, environmental and technical initiatives. We represent the industry’s views and voice opinions so that stakeholders understand how metal packaging contributes to the Circular Economy. Our goal is to make metal the preferred choice for consumer and industrial packaging.
- More information: www.metalpackagingeurope.org | @metal_packaging.
- Orgalime, the European Technology Industries, speaks for 45 trade federations representing the mechanical, electrical, electronic, metalworking and metal articles industries of 23 European countries. The industry employs nearly 11 million people in the EU and in 2016 accounted for some €2,000 billion of output. The industry represents over a quarter of the output of manufactured products and over a third of the manufactured exports of the European Union.
- Contact: Eugenia Forcat, Director of Communications [email protected]
- More information: www.orgalime.org | @Orgalime.
- T&D Europe is the European Association of the Electricity Transmission & Distribution Equipment and Services Industry, which members are the European National Associations representing the interests of the electricity transmission and distribution equipment manufacturing and derived solutions. The companies represented by T&D Europe account for a production worth over €25 billion, and employ over 200,000 people in Europe.
- More information: www.tdeurope.org | @BetterGrids.