Current portal location

Website content

News archive

Trade defence | Brussels, 21 June 2017

Commission adjusts imports surveillance rules for steel

Today the Commission published modified rules for the EU surveillance system for steel imports. The import surveillance system was created in April 2016 and is one of the EU’s practical responses to the crisis in the steel sector. Effective as of 11 July, the changes will allow for the easing of administrative constraints for regular importers of small quantities of steel products, while maintaining efficient surveillance of major steel import flows.

The EU steel import surveillance takes the form of automatic import licencing. This means that importers need to notify the relevant authorities in EU Member States of their intention to import steel products into the EU. They will receive a document confirming that surveillance rules have been respected before an import operation can happen. This rule applies today to all but the smallest transactions, below 2.5 tons.

To make the administration of the system more operational, the Commission will now increase the exemption threshold for certain products from 2.5 to 5 tons. This will reduce the number of transactions falling under surveillance and remove unnecessary constraints on importers that make many relatively small transactions and often operate based on a just-in-time system. Most imported steel products, usually traded in high volumes, will remain under surveillance.
The Commission will also encourage national authorities to accept handling the procedure in a paperless way.

The Commission is working in parallel on a draft interpretative notice to respond to requests for clarification received from stakeholders and ensure the uniform interpretation of existing surveillance rules.


An import surveillance system can be introduced when imports threaten to cause injury to EU producers. The objective is to collect statistical data on the volumes and price level of certain steel imports before the goods are actually imported, in order to better monitor market developments. The current system has been operational since May 2016. The EU had a similar scheme in place also between 2002 and 2012.

Further information

Commission implementing regulation of 28 April 2016 introducing steel import surveillance

Amending regulation of 20 June 2017

Communication: "Steel: preserving sustainable jobs and growth in Europe"

EU Trade defence policy