According to a press release of the European Commission on 26 February 2021, the Commission had initiated an investigation to assess whether the current safeguard measure on imports of certain steel products should be prolonged beyond 30 June 2021. The investigation was initiated upon the request of 12 EU Member States and will be concluded by the expiry date of the existing safeguard measure.
The Commission introduced a provisional safeguard measure on imports of certain steel products in July 2018, the aim of which was to prevent economic damage for EU steel producers (because of the risk of further import increases linked e.g. to the introduction of trade restrictions by the US on steel products). The Commission confirmed the measure, which was fully in line with WTO commitments, in early 2019 for a period until end of June 2021. It takes the form of Tariff-Rate-Quotas (‘TRQs’) reflecting traditional trade flows, above which a 25% duty is levied on imports. The measure had been reviewed twice, and recently the Commission has adapted the TRQ volumes to reflect Brexit as of 1 January 2021.
As next step, all interested parties have 15 days to deliver their opinion, and subsequently will be able to cross-comment on other parties' submissions. The Commission has also issued questionnaires to EU producers to assess their economic situation. The Commission will make a proposal to Member States for a vote after assessing carefully all the received information. The proceeding will also include consultations with third country governments. A decision will have to be taken before the end of June 2021.