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Parliamentary questions
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26 April 2021
Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: P-001087/2021

The requirements to prolong a safeguard measure are defined by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Safeguards(1) and by the EU Safeguards Regulation(2). On 26 February 2021, the Commission initiated an investigation to assess whether the prolongation of the safeguard measure on certain steel products beyond 30 June 2021 is justified.

The initiation of the investigation, which does not prejudge its outcome, followed a substantiated request by 12 Member States. The Commission will thoroughly analyse the input received from all stakeholders and it will make a proposal based on facts and evidence. The review will examine the need for an extension of measures also from the Union interest point of view.

In taking a final decision, the EU will need to take into account the fact that, in case of a prolongation of the steel safeguard measures, our trading partners will have the right to ask for compensation and — in case of no agreement with them — will be entitled to suspend the application of substantially equivalent concessions to EU exports (legal retaliation).

Member States will have to vote on the proposal, requiring a qualified majority in case of a proposal to prolong the measures. The final decision on the prolongation will be adopted before the existing safeguard expires on 30 June 2021. In case of a decision to prolong the current safeguard measure, the definition of each of the product categories making up the product concerned would not change.

The scope of this review investigation is limited to determining whether the existing measure should be prolonged or not. Therefore, any modulation in the definition of a given product category falls outside the scope of the current proceeding.

(2)Regulation (EU) 2015/478 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2015 on common rules for imports, OJ L 83, 27.3.2015, p. 16.
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