US Section 232 tariffs come into force; EU suspended from measure until 1 May; EUROFER warns safeguard still necessary

Brussels 23 March 2018 – This morning at 00:01 EST, the US imposed tariffs of 25% on steel products from all but a select list of countries. However, the US has only temporarily suspended the imposition of the measures on these countries – including on the EU – until 1 May 2018.

“The US has only suspended the EU’s inclusion provisionally”, said Axel Eggert, Director General of the European Steel Association (EUROFER). “I thank Commissioner Malmström and the Commission for their determined efforts to get the EU excluded from measures – and this is the case for now. The risk is that President Trump will only extend the suspension if substantial concessions are made before 1 May”.

EUROFER has pushed for safeguard measures that ensure the stability of the EU steel market. These remain relevant given that the various other countries also presently suspended from inclusion might ultimately be hit with the Section 232 measures. The risk of damaging trade deflection remains high.

“The European steel industry has crawled through a decade of exogenously-induced crisis – a crisis that we are only just emerging from”, stressed Mr Eggert. “We cannot face seeing this fragile recovery put at risk as a result of steel deflected from the US market. This is why we continue to call for quickly deployed, broad, quota-based safeguards that keep the EU market open but fully reflect the scope of the US measure”.

The US Section 232 investigation covered a wide range of steel products, including finished, semi-finished and tubes, of all qualities, including stainless. The EU exports about 5 million tonnes of such products to the US every year as one of its most reliable trade partners.

“The danger to the EU steel market has not disappeared. The EU is a larger importer of steels than the US – 40 million tonnes last year compared to the US’ 35 million tonnes”, added Mr Eggert. “In the first two months of 2018, the mere whisper that the US would impose measures has coincided with a 12% surge in imports to the EU”.

“It bears repeating: the EU has only been provisionally suspended from measures. We now need clarity about ways the EU and the US can come to a longer-term, common understanding before 1 May if the exclusion is to be indefinite.”, 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

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

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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