Steel import

The new procedure is experimental and will avoid additional duties

The Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency has introduced a new experimental procedure for quotas opened since April 1, 2024, which provides for the possibility of refusing an import operation in case of exhaustion of quotas. This will allow avoiding payment of additional duties, according to the Italian AR.

Until now, after submitting a customs declaration requesting the use of the quota that was still available, importers were subject to a kind of lottery based on the timing of other similar requests in the EU. Operators that did not manage to get a quota for free imports were obliged to pay the corresponding duty.

Under the new procedure, operators will be able to suspend the customs declaration of imports until the European Commission allocates quotas. If the quota is exhausted, importers will be able to refuse to clear imports in full or in part.

The client may decide to clear only a part of the cargo, pay customs duties for the material not covered by the quota, or store the excess metal products in the port. Importers can still clear their cargo without using the new mechanism and receive it under the old procedure.

These changes in trade regulation, Argus Media notes, are likely to help mainly importers who plan to import products when quotas are close to being exhausted. In particular, the mechanism may be useful for those who import hot rolled coil (HRC) under the Indian quota, which in the first quarter approached the critical point of exhaustion. Usually, in such cases, buyers want to wait for the start of a new quota period, while the new mechanism allows them to use the remaining quota in the current period without the risk of paying additional duties.

On the other hand, the new waiver mechanism will not make much sense for the «other countries» category, where they are usually selected on the first day of the new quota period, as it happened in early April.

The Italian Customs and Monopolies Agency is currently testing this mechanism. It is unclear whether this measure will become available to all EU buyers.

As GMK Center reported earlier, as the end of the previous quota period (January-March) approached, some of the import quotas for certain steel products were close to being exhausted, particularly for long products, although consumption of these products in the EU is weak. In particular, India has selected 91.83% of its quota for hot rolled coils (HRC) made of alloyed or non-alloyed steel, and has exhausted its imports of coated steel sheets.