EU declares war on the US

As a result of the steel tariffs imposed by President Bush on March 5, the European Commission has decided to impose some tariffs of its own.

Proposed EU steel safeguard regulations will, according to a statement issued yesterday, limit imports of certain steel products for which there is the threat of serious damage to EU industry.

The Commission expects its regulations to be approved on March 27 and enter into force in early April.

The measures will apply to 15 steel products which are subject to increased US tariffs and for which EU imports have been increasing.

The commission is suggesting a range of additional duties for imported steel products that range from 26%, for products such as Non Alloy Hot Rolled Sheets and Plates, Non Alloy Hot Rolled Narrow Strip, Alloy Hot Rolled Flat Products and Quarto Plates, to 15% for products such as Stainless Steel Wire and electrical sheets.

The justification to protect the EU steel industry is, according to the EU, based on the fact that the measures adopted by the Bush administration to protect the US steel market will inevitably result in steel from the rest of the world flooding into the EU unless something is done. EU estimates put this volume at 15m tonnes per year.

The EU says that its measures will only last as long as the American tariffs stay in place.