Recent steel imports measures have been finalized in European Union on February 1st. New quotas and tariffs will remain in place until July 2021. Latest measures encompass twenty-six steel product categories to maintain steel imports levels to EU zone stable. Eurofer’s recent steel market outlook report indicates predetermined quotas are based on historical averages. According to Reuters, US Section 232 may be extended to include imported car parts and more.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) reacted to European Commission’s decision on steel imports in January. ACEA pointed out to European automobile manufacturers’ limited access to local steel due to high prices.
ACEA’s secretary general Erik Jonnaert stated:
“Imports of steel into the EU have increased over the last year because European manufacturing output has grown substantially since the economic crisis. Motor vehicle manufacturing has increased by 5 million units per year since 2014, and some increase in steel imports has been necessary to meet this higher demand.”
Reuters report revealed US Department of Commerce is working on Section 232 investigation that can possibly extend tariffs on imported cars and auto parts. Section 232 report’s suggested extension is expected to include twenty to twenty-five percent tariffs on wide range of car parts and fully assembled vehicles.
The Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association reacted to possible impacts of Section 232 tariff extension. MEMA’s press release pointed out to potential risk for jobs, and impact on US investments in its latest press release on 18th February. Two days later, European automakers echoed MEMA’s press release to underline impacts of extended tariffs on both European and American industries. Both associations’ statements also outline expected increased prices for consumers in both markets for wide range of products related to car industry. Automakers’ criticism, towards Section 232, focuses on counter-productive effects such as increased costs of manufacturing and lower margins, which may put US and EU car industries in competitive disadvantage.
Currently countries including Turkey and Canada are hoping for steel imports exemption from Section 232. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters he’s confident “the end of the tariffs is drawing near”.