President Trump has signed the order to hit steel imports from all countries with a 25% tariff – excluding Mexico and Canada for now – but choosing to slap duties on EU products. The European Steel Association (EUROFER) firmly condemns the decision by the President as being damaging and counterproductive for both the US and EU economies.
“The US measure baselessly includes EU producers, who will suffer significantly from the loss of one of its major export markets. The national security justification the President has used – and the linking of these tariffs to NATO funding – is an absurdity”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of EUROFER.
The US imports around 35 million tonnes of steel per year. The concern for EU steel producers is not only the potential loss of access to a market with which they have strong commercial links, but even more that trade deflection towards the EU’s open market will be large and sudden.
“The loss of exports to the US, combined with an expected massive import surge in the EU could cost tens of thousands of jobs in the EU steel industry and related sectors”, emphasised Mr Eggert. “Ironically, estimates also show that the US could also suffer a net loss of jobs as a result of the measure.”
The EU has long been a fair and reliable supplier of high quality steels to the US market. European trade in steel is neither dumping, nor a threat to US national security by any stretch.
“The very real risk of trade deflection will require the EU to react with contingency safeguards to ward off any import surge caused by the Section 232 tariffs”, added Mr Eggert.
“We welcomed the announcement by the Commission that it would act immediately to defend its industry”, concluded Mr Eggert. “We cannot stand idly by while the US lights a match under the global trading system”.