US ‘Section 232’ tariff exemption extended for EU steel; “A welcome, if temporary, decision”, says EUROFER

Brussels, 1 May 2018 – In late March, arbitrary tariffs on steel imports into the US came into force, with a range of temporary exemptions for various countries and regions. The EU was amongst this list of countries excluded until 1 May 2018. This exemption has now been temporarily extended at the last minute, as well as on a number of other countries.

“The US’ decision is welcome, if temporary”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER). “The EU will now be exempted for another 30 days, to give time for further discussion”.

EU steel producers exported around 5 million tonnes of steel products to the US last year – and has been a loyal supplier to US customers, building relationships over decades. This consistent partnership benefits businesses and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Despite all the evidence of the harm to the EU-US relationship – and to our respective economies – the Administration has opted to continue a policy of uncertainty in its international trade practice”, added Mr Eggert. “However, in our view, the EU must not bend to unilateral trade measures and should continue to back multilateral solutions under the WTO framework”.

EUROFER supports the efforts of EU and member states to motivate the US to treat the EU like the geopolitical and economic ally that it is. If the US Section 232 measure has to remain in place, the EU should – at a minimum – be permanently excluded from its provisions.

“We believe that as reliable US partners there is no grounds for the EU not to be excluded and welcome the Commission’s efforts to ensure continued access to the US market”, added Mr Eggert. “We also support the Commission’s work in making sure that the US is aware it cannot take unilateral measures without trade consequences”.

EUROFER is concerned that the surge in imports already seen in the first few months of this year will only be exacerbated as countries also previously excluded from the measures direct their deflected products to the open EU market.

“The EU’s possible safeguard measure should be broad and cover a wide scope of products whilst maintaining access to traditional trade flows. It is important to stress that any safeguard – which remedies import surges – would be independent of whether the US gives the EU and exemption, either now or next month”, concluded Mr Eggert.


Notes for Editors                        


Charles de Lusignan, Communications Manager, +32 2 738 79 35, (


A PDF of this Press Release is available: here

Section 232 report

The Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act steel report can be found: here

Copy of the White House Press Statement on extension of the exemptions of 1 May 2018: here

EUROFER press conference on Section 232

If you missed EUROFER’s press conference on Section 232 on 12 March 2018, you can find it: here

EU notice of initiation of an investigation

The European Commission’s notice of initiation of an investigation can be found: here

About the European Steel Association (EUROFER)

EUROFER AISBL is located in Brussels and was founded in 1976. It represents the entirety of steel production in the European Union. EUROFER members are steel companies and national steel federations throughout the EU. The major steel companies and national steel federations in Switzerland and Turkey are associate members.

About the European steel industry

The European steel industry is a world leader in innovation and environmental sustainability. It has a turnover of around €170 billion and directly employs 320,000 highly-skilled people, producing on average 160 million tonnes of steel per year. More than 500 steel production sites across 22 EU Member States provide direct and indirect employment to millions more European citizens. Closely integrated with Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries, steel is the backbone for development, growth and employment in Europe.

Steel is the most versatile industrial material in the world. The thousands of different grades and types of steel developed by the industry make the modern world possible. Steel is 100% recyclable and therefore is a fundamental part of the circular economy. As a basic engineering material, steel is also an essential factor in the development and deployment of innovative, CO2-mitigating technologies, improving resource efficiency and fostering sustainable development in Europe.

The European Steel Association (EUROFER AISBL)

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Tel.: +32 2 738 79 20
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