Iran’s Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC) will be subject to tariffs of 57.5 euros per tonne from Saturday, the EU’s official journal said.
The decision came just a month after EU governments rejected the bloc’s proposed measures to levy trade tariffs on hot-rolled steel from Iran as well as Brazil, Russia and Ukraine.
Chinese hot-rolled steel is already subject to anti-dumping duties but the EU’s addition of the new countries to the measures gives added ground to accusations of protectionism from international steel exporters.
The EU has drawn up more than 40 restrictive measures aimed at protecting European steel producers which claim hundreds of thousands of jobs in the continent are at risk from imports. The bloc says “unfair competition” was causing “material injury” to its producers.
In targeting MSC, steel lobby group Eurofer has argued that Iranian exports of hot-rolled steel to Europe, used in machinery and construction, had leapt to more than 1 million tonnes annually, accusing Mobarakeh of “trade distorting measures.”
The European Commission, which sets out trade policy in the 28-member European Union, had proposed duties of up to 23 percent for steel from Iran and 33% for the other three countries.
The commission had also proposed that measures would not apply if the product was sold at or above a set minimum price of 472.27 euros ($568) per tonne, triggering a complaint from Eurofer which had criticized the minimum price element.
As a result, EU countries, including those with steelmakers and those interested in cheap steel, opposed the overall plan last month, sending the case to a so-called appeals committee which also comprised the 28 EU members.
On Friday, the EU said it would levy anti-dumping tariffs of between 17.6 and 96.5 euros ($20.6-112.8) per tonne, effective from Saturday. The bloc said it had also revised the minimum price proposal but did not give details.
Eurofer said it was happy the proposal had been dropped, but still expressed disappointment that the Commission had opted for fixed-price rather than normal percentage tariffs, Reuters reported.
MSC was the only Iranian steel producer whose exports fell last year during which the country sold 4 million tonnes of steel.
In the first five months of the current Iranian year which began on March 21, Iran’s exports of semi-finished and finished steel products grew 12% to 2.64 million tonnes, official data showed.
Khouzestan Steel Company (KSC) was the biggest Iranian exporter during the period, shipping 1.163 million tonnes of slab, bloom and billet overseas, up 72% year-on-year.
Mobarakeh slipped to the fourth place behind Khouzestan Steel Company (KSC) and Esfahan Steel Company (ESCO) whose exports also grew 72% and 133% respectively, while MSC’s shipments fell 63% during the period.
Iran produces 16 million tonnes of steel a year, which the country plans to raise to 55 million tonnes by 2025.
A statement on the website of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) expects exports to hit 20-25 million tonnes by 2025.
EU’s increasing protectionism in the steel industry has drawn strong protests from other producers, including China which has accused the bloc of using the unfair and unreasonable surrogate country approaches.
European steel producers have been pressuring the continent’s leaders to copy draconian US regulations, including levies of more than 500 percent on steel imports in some cases.
The hot-rolled coil market in Europe is worth about 10 billion euros ($11.1 billion) which is a monopoly of companies such as ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp.
Experts say EU’s protective measures highlight a drive in the bloc to keep steel industry regionalized and maintain clout on its annual sales of 166 billion euros.
According to the European Commission, steel industry accounts for 1.3 percent of EU gross domestic product and directly provides 328,000 jobs.
The Chinese government has urged the EU to fully comply with the international treaty obligations under the WTO, terminate the use of surrogate country approach and treat other enterprises in a fair, impartial and non-discriminatory manner.