BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European steel association Eurofer criticized on Thursday measures set out by the European Commission to counter dumping of hot-rolled steel from Brazil, Iran, Russia and Ukraine.
The Commission, which oversees trade policy in the 28-member European Union, has set out plans to levy tariffs of up to 33 percent on the steel grade, used in construction and machinery, from the four countries.
However, it has also proposed that duties should not apply if the product is sold at or above a set minimum price of 472.27 euros ($549.25) per tonne. If sold for less than that, the tariffs would apply, although with the minimum price as a limit.
The Commission said its proposal reflected a rise in prices since the investigation period - the 12 months until mid-2016 - and that a cap would strike a balance between the interests of EU producers and steel users.
Eurofer said the proposal set "an unworkable precedent" that would allow for continued dumping and promote over-capacity in the exporting countries.
The group said the price was significantly below the average price level, with higher recent prices due to more costly raw materials, not increased margins, and that a single minimum price was unsuited for hot-rolled steel.
"It comes in over a thousand, very different, grades and types – each with their own costs and prices," said Eurofer Director General Axel Eggert in a statement, adding the raw materials fluctuated significantly in cost.
Chinese imports of the same steel grade are already subject to duties of up to 35.9 percent, with no minimum price.
The Commission has previously allowed China to export solar panels to the European Union at a minimum price free of duties to settle one of the most contested trade disputes between Brussels and Beijing.
($1 = 0.8598 euros)
Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Adrian Croft