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ISTA Calls For “Safeguard Holiday” on Short Supply

ISTA, the International Steel Traders Association, has sent a letter to the European Commission to express its opposition to the potential extension of safeguard measures beyond June 2021.

In the letter seen by Kallanish the association stressed that for the moment only 12 European countries called for the measures to be extended, less than half of the overall member states of the EU.

A key point raised by the association is the shortage of supply from domestic mills within the EU. “ISTA points out that in the months from July 2020 to March 2021 there have been long waiting periods/delivery times for the supply of steel from EU mills. ISTA reports that due to technical problems, breakdown of furnaces and unpredicted repairs, some EU mills cannot supply their long-standing customers on time. A major EU mill has notified end-users that they cannot supply scheduled tonnages for Quarters 3 and 4 2021,” the letter said.

The shortage issue is being exacerbated by safeguard measures in key areas such as automotive coil products, ISTA said.

A special attention was drawn by ISTA to the issue of stainless steel and the shortage registered in that market. “Due to uncertainty caused by pending anti-dumping investigations against India and Indonesia together with safeguard quotas, members estimate that supply is some 800,000 tonnes short nowithstanding price increases of 30-35%,” the letter continues. Extreme price volatility is also set to be reduced without safeguard measures.

“ISTA believes a ‘safeguard holiday’ for perhaps 12 months should be contemplated to ensure that, post-Covid, EU steel consumers can have a greater degree of confidence regarding supply without the prospect of having to pay penal 25 per cent duties if quota levels are breached or experiencing unwelcome price hikes as a result of supply shortages,” the letter concludes.

Emanuele Norsa Italy