Switzerland is subject to the EU safeguard measures in the steel sector as well as to the EU surveillance measures in the aluminum sector.
Safeguard Measures on Imports of Certain Steel Products
The EU Commission introduced definitive safeguard measures on certain steel imports through Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/159 of 31 January 2019. The safeguard measures are applicable from 2 February 2019 to 30 June 2021. The measures take the form of country-specific tariff-rate quotas for each product category (there is a total of 26 such categories). The exception is product group 1, for which a global quota is planned. Country-specific tariff-rate quotas are granted to Switzerland for categories 12, 14, 16, 17, 21, 26 und 27. The size of the tariff-rate quotas has been determined based on average yearly imports between 2015 and 2017 plus a mark-up of 5%. The size of the tariff-rate quota will be increased by 3% each year.
The EU Commission publishes current information on the fill rates of the tariff-rate quotas (Tariff Quota Consultation). Once the tariff-rate quotas are filled, the EU will levy an additional duty of 25 % on imports.
In the event of a disorderly UK exit from the EU, the EU intends to apply the safeguard measures to UK imports as well as the UK intends to introduce safeguard measures on imports of steel products. Further details are not known yet.
Additional information: Factsheet EU safeguard measures (PDF, 111 kB, 04.12.2019) (available in German)
Surveillance Measures on Imports of Certain Steel Products
Against the backdrop of global overcapacity in steel production, the EU adopted a surveillance system in the steel sector as early as 1 June 2016 (EU Implementing Regulation 2016/670 and EU Implementing Regulation 2017/1092). Since then, imports of certain steel products into the EU have required the presentation of a surveillance document (import license). The EU Commission issued an Interpretative Notice clarifying which economic operators not established in the EU may request and receive a surveillance document and under what conditions. For all product categories concerned by the definitive safeguard measures, the surveillance measures are suspended with the introduction of definitive safeguard measures in February 2019. The surveillance measures in the steel sector are valid until 15 May 2020.
Surveillance Measures on Imports of Certain Aluminum Products
On 25 April 2018, the EU Commission introduced a surveillance system on certain aluminum products (Commission Regulation 2018/640). The regulation provides that in order to import certain aluminum products from third countries into the EU a surveillance document (import license) shall be required as of mid-May 2018. The implementation of the Regulation 2018/640 has been clarified by an Interpretative Notice. The document clarifies which economic operators not established in the EU may request and receive a surveillance document and under what conditions. The EU Commission does currently not intend to introduce further trade-restrictive measures on imports of aluminum products. The surveillance measures in the aluminum sector are valid until 15 May 2020.
Position of the Federal Authorities of Switzerland
The Federal Authorities are in close contact with the European Commission and are following closely the development of EU trade policies applied in reaction to the introduction of US import tariffs. Switzerland has repeatedly asked the EU Commission and EU Member States to exclude Switzerland from EU safeguard measures. Switzerland requests that existing and any new EU safeguard or surveillance measures be designed in a way that they do not restrict EU-Switzerland trade and take into account the obligations of the 1972 Free-Trade-Agreement between the two parties.
Last modification 04.12.2019