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24.07.2018

ZVEI warns of negative consequences of EU protective tariffs on electrical steel

The tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump on steel and aluminium have triggered drastic counter-reactions worldwide. The ZVEI criticises the short-term imposition of EU tariffs of 25 percent on electrical steel in order to cushion the increased import pressure from Asia on the EU as a result of Trump's tariffs. Customs duties on various steel products are to be levied provisionally for an initial period of 200 days.

This measure is already causing collateral damage in the electrical industry. In addition, an extension of the period to four years from December 2018 is planned.

Of the 23 steel grades with 25 percent customs duty, two are of particular importance for the electrical industry. These are so-called "grain-oriented electrical steel" (GOES) for transformers and "non-grain-oriented electrical steel" (NGOES) for electric motors and generators.

While GOES are not - yet - affected by the provisional tariffs, these have been in force on NGOES since 19 July. Steel producers in Europe cannot supply sufficient quantities here. Their market share is just under 72 percent; the electrical industry is therefore dependent on imports. Although there is a duty-free import quota of just under 180,000 tonnes per year for NGOES, this quantity is already insufficient today. In addition, the "first come, first served" principle applies: first served, the steel is delivered without customs duties.

In view of the increasing electrification everywhere - not least through electromobility - the electrical industry fears serious cost increases and thus long-term disadvantages in an already globally competitive industry.

In general, the ZVEI criticizes customs duties as trade barriers. It therefore warns politicians in Brussels and Berlin of the negative consequences for the electrical industry of the planned long-term EU protective tariffs on electrical steel.

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