In the first half of this year, the European Commission (EC) launched four new anti-dumping investigations and one anti-subsidy investigation targeting steel products, mainly from China. This compared with a total of three anti-dumping probes and one anti-subsidy probe launched in the whole of 2015.
Rumours of more countries and products soon to be targeted have circulated in the market, amid repeated calls for a level playing field in the face of global steelmaking overcapacity.
Much is heard of the benefits to be gained from protectionist measures – growth in prices, market share and earnings – for the domestic steel industry, which is supported by the powerful lobbying efforts of the European steel association, Eurofer.
“Without protective tariffs on key flat steel products in the EU, [price] premiums may not be sustainable and [steelmakers’] earnings may miss our forecasts,” investment bank Citi commented in a research note published in late June.
But with every...