Brussels does not promise exemption from steel measures

Brussels does not promise exemption from steel measures
Brussels - Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs Bujar Osmani, after meeting EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström in Brussels, said it was difficult for the EU to pledge to exempt the country from possible measures on steel imports into the EU.

The EU launched an investigation into steel imports in its internal market in March this year, fueled by the rising steel surge in third countries on its market, as well as by new US customs duties on steel and aluminum, which came into force on June 1.

For Macedonia, these restrictions would be a major blow to the economy, said the Macedonian state leadership and the metallurgical industry. Osmani and Economy Minister Kresnik Bektesi ordered the EU Commissioner that any restrictions would have dire consequences for the industry, but also a domino effect on other sectors, including the political process, but have not received any promises for the time being.

- They believe that the investigation should be completed, and then the restrictions should be based on the historical course of export. There are different indicators here because the historical flow in the last three years was at the height of the political crisis and if those rates we have as restrictions it will not be favorable - said the Deputy Prime Minister. Osmani claims he received assurances from his interlocutors in Brussels that Macedonia should not be very concerned.

The European Commission is expected to announce the possible restrictions in July, and in what form they would be adopted, whether quantitative restrictions or tariffs.

- I said that we have a Stabilization and Association Agreement, that we are fully integrated with the EU, 70 percent of our exports going to the EU, 60% of imports come from the EU, and we can be exempted. But this cannot be promised at this stage until the research on protective measures is finalized, but I still thought it was time to alarm - Osmani added.

It seems that Macedonia has not received any guarantees so far, that the EU has the right to limit steel imports in times of crisis, including from the candidate countries, and that unlike countries such as Norway, Macedonia has no special relationship with the European market.

Asked whether Macedonia is considering Plan B for the steel industry, Osmani replied that the industry and the country's departments would have to consider all options.

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