Foreign Minister Gabriel presents the case for the German steel industry in dispute with the United States

24.03.2017 - Press release

Foreign Minister Gabriel writes to European Commissioner Malmström.

Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel today (24 March) wrote a letter to the European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström presenting the case that the Commission unequivocally call upon the US Administration in its current talks to respect WTO regulations in force.

In the United States, an anti-dumping investigation is currently underway in the steel sector affecting, inter alia, the German companies Salzgitter AG (Lower Saxony) and Dillinger Hütte (Saarland).

“There is reason to fear that the American rivals of these two companies are hoping that the new US Administration could be prepared to allow US companies to engage in unfair dumping even if this violates international law. We Europeans must not accept this,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel explained. At the same time, he called for the companies to be self-confident. “The Dilllinger Hütte and Salzgitter AG steelworkers produce high quality steel and have nothing to fear from fair competition. Politics has the job, if necessary, of confidently presenting the case for this fairness and to retain jobs and of fighting side by side with the steelworkers,” as Gabriel pointed out.

According to the two companies involved, the investigation led by the US Department of Commerce wrongly accuses European companies of dumping when they sell steel products in the United States. The EU and Germany are advocating that the US Administration apply WTO regulations when calculating anti-dumping duties. Calculation methods which run counter to WTO agreements could potentially lead to the companies paying higher duties and thus facing huge competitive disadvantages internationally. The Federal Government has thus presented the case at various levels of the US Administration that recognised, fair rules be applied in the investigation. The investigation due to be decided soon will be the first anti-dumping investigation in the steel sector concluded by the new US Administration.

“That is why I believe it to be extremely important to take a clear position now to prevent starting the transatlantic business dialogue with the new US Administration with a negative and unjustified decision,” as Federal Foreign Minister Gabriel wrote to Malmström.

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