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EU steel market flooded as producers find work-around for US tariffs

EU steel market flooded as producers find work-around for US tariffs
Issue Time:2018-05-08

Frankfurt — US steel tariffs have led to an increase in volumes on Europe’s steel market as some manufacturers divert their product to the European Union, the head of Germany’s steel association told a newspaper.

"In the first three months (of 2018), imports from Russia rose by 139% from a year earlier, those from Turkey by 76%," daily Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung quoted Hans Juergen Kerkhoff as saying in an interview published on Monday.

He urged the EU to quickly implement measures to prevent foreign steel from flooding the EU market, for instance by imposing its own quotas or tariffs.

US President Donald Trump’s administration said in March it would impose tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminium in a bid to stanch imports from China, which it said have driven down prices and put US companies out of business.

It has extended a temporary reprieve from the tariffs for the EU, Canada and Mexico until June 1, but the EU has demanded a permanent exemption.

"I think the EU is in a good position (for negotiations). But it must present a united front and cannot let itself be divided," Kerkhoff said.

Germany is urging its European partners to show some flexibility and pursue a broad trade deal with the US that benefits both sides. But that puts Berlin at odds with European peers such as France.