AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The European Union should take measures to shield the European steel market from a flood of cheap imports seeking a new destination as the United States impose tariffs on steel, the Dutch arm of Tata Steel said on Thursday.
“We should prevent a tsunami of cheap, low quality steel flooding the European market, now that it can’t make its way to the U.S.”, Tata Steel Netherlands director Theo Henrar told Reuters. “This could be done by imposing tariffs or quotas.”
Henrar said the U.S. would mainly hurt itself by imposing tariffs on European steel, as American manufacturers often have no alternative supplier.
From its factories in IJmuiden, near Amsterdam, Tata supplies high-quality steel to companies such as machine builder Caterpillar (CAT.N) and battery maker Duracell.
Tata also caters for carmakers and the packaging and bottling industry in the United States with products it says no domestic steel producer makes.
Henrar said it was too early to estimate the consequences for Tata Netherlands’ exports to the U.S., which yearly amount to around 500 million euros ($584 million).
“We might see orders decline somewhat, but we have long-running relationships with most of our customers and we expect to reach a solution with most of them”, Henrar said.
“President Trump is mainly hurting the American steel industry and consumers by driving up prices.”
Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Alexandra Hudson