ANNOUNCEMENT 17 Dec 2009In December 2009, the European Commission announced a change in import formalities.
NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS
On 17 December 2009, the EC amended its monitoring program for the import of certain steel products. Various steel products listed in Annex I of the regulation are now subject to surveillance prior to their import.
The EC argues that it is in the Union interest: 'that imports of certain steel products should continue to be subject to prior surveillance in order to provide advanced statistical information permitting rapid analysis of import trends.' (page 2 (11) , EC Regulation 1241/2009).
The measure itself does not directly introduce discrimination against imports. However given the long history of import surveillance being used to "manage trade" from the 1970s on, in particular in the steel sector, this measure may not be as as it first seems. The collection of the the data on specific steel imports is likely to result in quantitative limits on the respective products, considering the situation of the European steel industry described as "vulnerable" (10). Based on the collected data, the measure permits to facilitate the introduction of these quotas on specific countries and is therefore considered potentially trade distorting.
The surveillance program expired on 31 December 2012.