Ottokump, the world's largest stainless steel producer, said the United States would grant few requests for tariff exemptions for steel, adding that it expected U.S. stainless steel prices to resume their upward trend.
Roeland Baan, chief executive of Ottokump, told Reuters at an industry meeting in Helsinki that trade disruptions, as in the past, must be resolved. U.S. importers officially pay tariffs, but steelmakers outside the U.S. effectively settle these tariffs by reducing export prices by about 25%. They do this because they want their customers to be protected. But this is impossible. When this becomes clearer, I see that American pricing has more upward potential.
Roeland Baan said European orders have not resumed despite EU tariffs and quotas on steel imports since July in order to prevent steel originally used in the United States from being transferred to Europe. He said stainless steel imports still account for nearly 1/3 of the EU market. EU producers will feel the benefits of EU measures by the end of this year, when import quotas will be fully met.
This spring, US President Trump imposed a 25% tariff on imported steel, but they could apply for exemption if the metal they needed was not of sufficient quality or quantity, or within a reasonable period of time. As of August 20, the Commerce Department had received more than 37,000 requests for exemption, but only 1,780 were approved, although the Department employed additional staff and contractors to handle a large number of requests.