Stainless steel

The bloc should introduce more tariffs, following the US, says the company's CEO

The European Union should do more to curb steel imports from Asia, which are hurting some of the bloc’s businesses as demand and prices weaken. This opinion was expressed by Bernardo Velasquez, CEO of Acerinox, a Spanish stainless steel company, in a conversation with Reuters.

He reminded that China increased its stainless steel production by almost 13% y/y last year, while the rest of the world reduced it due to weaker demand.

The call for more active action from Acerinox’s CEO came amid the company’s results for the first quarter of this 2024. The European market shows no signs of recovery, even though Acerinox’s plant in Cadiz (Spain) has been shut down for three months due to an ongoing strike and supply in Europe has declined.

The EU has already imposed punitive tariffs on 18 brands of Chinese steel and stainless steel products, and set quotas on steel imports as part of measures to protect its market. Imports in excess of the quota are subject to a 25% duty.

«Safeguard measures are necessary, but they are not sufficient. The EU should impose more tariffs, imitating the United States’ model, so that the Asian markets have the same rules of the game,» Velazquez said.

Last week, Acerinox announced that in the second quarter of this year it would close its Bahru Stainless plant in Malaysia, which specializes in cold lamination, due to low prices among Asian competitors, and the company is exploring various alternatives.

As GMK Center reported earlier, in January-March 2024, Spanish steelmakers reduced steel production by 2.3% compared to the same period in 2023, to 2.91 million tons. Average monthly steel production for the quarter amounted to 971.7 thousand tons compared to 994.7 thousand tons a year earlier.