The European Steel Association’s (EUROFER) annual conference is happening today, covering Steel, Sustainability and Low-Carbon Innovation. The need for such innovation will shape the investment decisions of the EU steel industry for the next 20-30 years. The impact of the US Section 232 measures will also be addressed during the conference.
Geert Van Poelvoorde, President of EUROFER said, “Our calculations show that to successfully deploy all of the low-carbon innovation projects that the industry has conceived to industrial demonstrator level will require €10 billion over the next ten to fifteen years”.
Mr Van Poelvoorde was talking at a press conference ahead of European Steel Day 2018.
“With the Ninth Framework Programme discussions now getting into their stride, it is more important than ever that policy makers support our industry in advancing towards becoming low-carbon”.
Mr Van Poelvoorde highlighted EUROFER’s ongoing work on specific innovation pathways to avoid emitting carbon or to make better use of it in the creation of other products.
The President then addressed the threat of the US’ Section 232 tariffs.
“The European steel industry condemns the US import tariffs on steel. This protectionist trade action is absurd – it hits the US’ own allies hardest”, said Mr Van Poelvoorde. “We also now expect to face a large loss of market share in the US, a market that accounts for 16% of EU exports”.
The anticipated loss of export volume has been modelled by the US as being at least 37%. This is a conservative estimate – the actual effect could end up being much larger.
“There is the need to continue discussions with the US to address the root cause of this trade dispute: global steel excess capacity”, suggested Mr Van Poelvoorde. “We have to deal collectively with countries that subsidise production in order to target export markets, and there are international fora for this process. Unilateral measures are not the answer”.
“In the meantime, we call for an EU safeguard to be deployed as quickly as possible – the longer the delay, the greater the injury to the European steel industry will be”, concluded Mr Van Poelvoorde.