In response to the United States steel and aluminum high tariff measures, the European Commission announced on March 26 that it initiated safeguard investigations on imported steel products.
The EU announced that it will carry out investigations of safeguard measures for imported steel products, impose tariffs based on the results of the survey or limit the import volume in the form of quotas. The surveyed objects were cold-rolled steel plates, hot-rolled thick plates, electrical steel pipes, and large-diameter steel pipes.
According to the Korean Trade Association’s April 4 news, the EU’s total steel imports last year were EUR 57.12 billion, of which the safeguards involved imports of varieties of EUR 21.2 billion, while the exports of South Korea to the EU involved imports of EUR 2.39 billion (approximately 29.4). Billion U.S. dollars, which accounted for 11.3%, was higher than the 2.73 billion U.S. dollar target for the 232 investigation. Some analysts claimed that the EU’s move was intended to prevent the influx of steel products from the world into the EU due to the “232 survey” in the United States. South Korea’s steel is more difficult to find alternative outlets when it is blocked against exports to the United States and the European Union.
The European Commission stated in a statement on the same day that the investigation of steel safeguard measures involved steel products exported to the European Union from all over the world, but the launch of the survey does not mean that it will eventually take concrete measures. If the investigation proves that it is necessary to take action, the EU may impose import tariffs or implement quotas to protect EU steel producers from “over-import” effects.
The European Commission said that the survey started on that day involved 27 steel product categories and will, in principle, be completed within 9 months. If the results show that it is necessary to take temporary protective measures, the EU will act as soon as possible. At the same time, the European Commission will also further review the market conditions and make preparations accordingly.
The European Commission stated that safeguards are one of the trade defense tools approved by the World Trade Organization. The EU's investigation procedures will also strictly follow this multilateral rule.
Wang Hejun, director of the Trade Relief and Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, said on the same day that China hopes that the EU will adopt prudent safeguard measures. He said that China understands that the EU must take necessary actions to respond to the US taxation measures on imported steel and aluminum products. However, adopting global safeguards is not the right choice. It will further aggravate the chaos and panic of international trade caused by U.S. measures and cause a more serious and damaging impact on the normal international trade order.
Wang Hejun pointed out that the EU, as an important member of the WTO and an important force in the global trading system, should strengthen cooperation with all its members and jointly oppose trade protectionism and should not take actions that undermine the global trade order. China is willing to strengthen communication and cooperation with all parties, including the European Union, to jointly cope with the confusion caused by the United States measures on the global steel and aluminum trade.
Wang Hejun said that China will seriously assess the impact of the US and European measures on China and will take corresponding measures when necessary to firmly safeguard the interests of Chinese companies.
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