European Union member states have endorsed the proposal for the introduction of final protection measures for steel imports with the final verification of the European Commission’s proposal still pending.
Serbia is unlikely to receive the prescribed quotas for steel exports. EU member states backed on Wednesday (January 15th, 2019) a proposal made by the European Commission to introduce final protective measures regarding steel imports, based on provisional measures that have been in force since July last year, from which Serbia was exempted.
Serbian government said on Tuesday it had asked the European Commission to exempt it from new steel import quotas to ensure continued full production by the country’s Chinese-owned steel mill, a key driver of its economic growth.
HBIS Group Serbia, a unit of Chinese steelmaker Hesteel , purchased Serbia’s sole steel mill Zelezara Smederevo in 2016. Its maximum output is set at 2.2 million tons of steel annually. In 2018 Zelezara Smederevo was Serbia’s second best single exporter for value with 638.3 million euros ($729.32 million), behind the local unit of Italy’s Fiat carmaker that exported 654.7 million euros.
EU member states are to vote on Wednesday to approve a scheme to limit imports of steel into the bloc following U.S. President Donald Trump’s imposition of tariffs on steel and aluminium entering the United States. This would impose an effective cap on steel imports for three years to counter concerns of EU producers that European markets could be flooded by steel products that are no longer being imported into the United States.
But such a move could jeopardise exports from the Smederevo plant, Vucic said in an interview with pro-government Pink TV.
Brussels officials underline that In Brussels that protective measures are aimed at a precisely defined list of steel products, regardless of their origin, with the view of establishing balance between the interests of European producers and users. The European Commission has previously submitted a plan to the World Trade Organization on the basis of which provisional measures were introduced this year with quotas that do not apply to Serbia.
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