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EU reviewing extension to steel import curbs

BRUSSELS, Feb 26 (Reuters) – The European Commission on Friday began to review a possible extension of steel import curbs introduced in 2018 after Washington imposed 25% steel import tariffs.

EU steelmakers face global overcapacity and non-EU exporting countries are seeking markets for piled-up stocks, with various trade restrictions and no sign the United States is about to remove tariffs, which have closed the country to many exporters.

Twelve EU countries have requested an extension of the EU curbs beyond the current expiry date of June 30.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Spain argue that the bloc would be flooded with steel imports if the measures were ended, while demand is still depressed by the pandemic.

The Commission’s investigation will be concluded by June 30, when the measures would normally have expired.

The measures cover steel from the main exporters to the European – Turkey, Russia, South Korea, India and Ukraine, as well as China.

Quotas for 26 grades of steel, including stainless, were set at the average of imports in 2015-2017 plus 5%, with 3% hikes in 2019 and 2020. Imports beyond the quotas are subject to a 25% duty. (Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Jason Neely)

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