The European Union has changed its safeguard duty regime for hot-rolled steel sheet and strip imports to include country-specific, quarterly import quotas, instead of an annual, global import quota, with effect from 1 July.
The new quota regime is expected to reduce imports from large exporting countries, such as Turkey and India, and provide relief to EU steelmakers reeling from the impact of demand slowdown since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Country-specific quota for HRC imports has been put in place for Russia, Turkey, India, South Korea and Serbia with a residual quota allotted to other countries. Apart from hot-rolled flat products, country-specific quotas had always been in place in the EU safeguard regime for other steel products. The quarterly quota system, however, will be new to all steel imports covered by the safeguard regime. The safeguard duty rate remains at 25% for imports into the EU above quota levels.
Countries were exhausting their annual quotas within the first few months of the year, leading to a surge in imports at the beginning of the quota period while the quarterly system will ensure a stable flow of imported steel throughout the year, said the European Union, which enacted the new safeguard system into a binding law for member states on 29 June.
For India, the quarterly hot-rolled coil and strip quota for July-Sept 2020 and Oct-Dec 2020 are 168,368t each and for Jan-March 2021 and April-June 2021 are 164,708t and 166,538t respectively.
The EU28 imported around 850,000t hot-rolled coil and strip products from India in 2019, averaging around 70,833t/month and 212,500t on a quarterly basis, according to data provided by the European steel association Eurofer. The quarterly quotas for the July-December 2020 period are around 79% of the average quarterly imports in 2019.
For cold-rolled sheet, India's quarterly quota is in the 150,000-153,000t range for the July 2020-June 2021 period, higher than the annual quota of around 592,000t in the July 2019-June 2020 period. The EU imported 386,494t cold-rolled sheet from India in 2019.