ACEA questions the need for such trade protectionist measures. In the automotive sector access to EU steel production is extremely tight and imports remain necessary to fill supply-chain gaps. Meanwhile, EU producers of steel are benefitting from long-term high prices and excellent capacity utilisation rates, especially in the automotive sector. Financial results of European producers in the last years are a clear indication of the very positive market situation for them.
“Imports of steel into the EU have increased over the last year because European manufacturing output has grown substantially since the economic crisis,” explained ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert. “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.”
Trade data from the US Government shows that there has been a relatively minor drop in global steel exports to the US that can be explained by the very high price of steel there, which regularly exceeds world market prices by 30 to 40%. Hence, there is little reason to assume trade diversion that would necessitate protection for EU steel producers, who are already highly protected by anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures.
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