BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European steel body Eurofer said it expects the European Union to rule in favour of final duties on hot rolled steel from Brazil, Iran, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine, having decided in April not to apply provisional duties on the five countries.
The European steel sector is slowly emerging from a crisis that saw prices plunge in 2015, but Eurofer says it still faces risks from unfairly traded steel from China and elsewhere.
“I expect to (see final) measures, but to what extent, which countries and how high, that is another question,” Geert Van Poelvoorde, Eurofer president, told Reuters on the sidelines of the European Steel Day conference in Brussels on Wednesday.
A Commission spokesman said the Commission does not comment on ongoing investigations.
The Commission, the EU executive, decides whether to impose provisional duties on unfairly traded or “dumped” products, while EU member states decide on final duties.
Van Poelvoorde, who is also CEO of ArcelorMittal Europe Flat Steel Products ISPA.AS, said many member states had been in favour of provisional duties, so he was optimistic that final tariffs would be imposed.
The EU currently has 39 anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures in place on steel, 17 of which involve China. Its attention has only recently shifted to non-Chinese steel as the impact of its barriers on China take hold.
Steel is the second largest industry in the world after oil and gas. G20 governments pledged in September to address the serious problem of excess capacity that has punished the industry for years with low prices.
Van Poelvoorde said there had been a rapid increase in imports of unfairly traded steel from Brazil, Iran, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine following the Commission decision not to impose provisional duties.
“The Commission report showed there was dumping, showed there was injury. Evidence (was) overruled in favour of a political decision,” he said.
A decision on final duties is due by October 6.
EU steel imports rose 9 percent in 2016 to hit a multi-year peak, according to Eurofer. By the second half of the year, a quarter of the 156 million tonnes of steel consumed in the bloc was accounted for by imports, Eurofer data shows.
The European steel industry has a turnover of around 170 billion euros (£143.3 billion) and directly employs 320,000 people, producing on average 170 million tonnes of steel per year, versus a global total of 1.6 billion tonnes.
Additional reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, editing by David Evans