FRANKFURT (Reuters) - U.S. steel tariffs have led to an increase in volumes on Europe’s steel market as some manufacturers divert their product to the European Union, the head of Germany’s steel association told a newspaper.
“In the first three months (of 2018), imports from Russia rose by 139 percent from a year earlier, those from Turkey by 76 percent,” daily Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung quoted Hans Juergen Kerkhoff as saying in an interview published on Monday.
He urged the EU to quickly implement measures to prevent foreign steel from flooding the EU market, for instance by imposing its own quotas or tariffs.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said in March it would impose tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum in a bid to stanch imports from China, which it said have driven down prices and put U.S. companies out of business.
It has extended a temporary reprieve from the tariffs for the EU, Canada and Mexico until June 1, but the EU has demanded a permanent exemption.
“I think the EU is in a good position (for negotiations). But it must present a united front and cannot let itself be divided,” Kerkhoff said.
Germany is urging its European partners to show some flexibility and pursue a broad trade deal with the United States that benefits both sides. But that puts Berlin at odds with European peers such as France.
Reporting by Maria Sheahan; editing by Jason Neely