Aluminij: It is necessary to prevent the introduction of European quotas and customs

Aluminij Mostar

The justified discomfort in B&H caused the support of EU countries to the proposal by the European Commission to limit imports of steel from non-EU countries, which is one of the Union's response to customs that the United States has introduced. Namely, it is proposed that with the aim of preventing imports of surplus steel which will surely be created on the market following the growth of US customs, the EU introduces quotas for imports of steel from non-EU countries and that total imports outside these quotas are subject to customs clearance in the amount of 25 percent, which would be a tremendous impact on the business of the affected companies.

Although B&H and the European Union are linked by a significant trade facilitations and lack of customs, in line with the Stabilization and Association Agreement and the spirit of the EU's economic and CEFTA countries (whose member is B&H), the FB&H Chamber of Commerce has recognized the latest EU actions and as a serious threat to the B&H economy. According to the statements of the President of the FB&H Chamber of Commerce Mirsad Jašarspahić, the support of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of B&H, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of B&H and the Foreign Trade Chamber of B&H has been requested, with the aim of preventing trade restrictions between B&H and EU member states.

- We aks the listed bodies to request the European Commission the exclusion of B&H from these measures, in order to avoid any possibility of introducing duties or quotas, as well as any actions hurting the spirit of the Stabilization and Association Agreement - Jašarspahić told to BH media, emphasizing that the Chamber will also request the CEFTA's representative to request urgent request from EU institutions to secure free trade between CEFTA and Union member states. The EU Delegation in B&H has already officially reported on the possibility of limiting imports of steel from B&H into the EU for the B&H economy, given the almost inestimable multiplication effects of such measures.

It is obvious that the global trade war will not bypass B&H as well, and that the earlier pessimistic analytical predicaments are threatening to emerge in its worst scenario. The European Union is still in the process of preparing a final anti-countermeasures strategy, but it remains to be said that it is highly likely that quotas and duties on steel will be introduced from all non-EU member states because, due to US tariffs, already visible negative impact on the European territory (steel imports have increased considerably, which hampers the price of this metal and endangers the EU industry).

Although current analyses show that the European aluminum market is still suffering from a shortage, which is why the European Union has so far dropped the introduction of quota and import tariffs for aluminum from countries outside the EU, Aluminij d.d. Mostar is grateful to all efforts by the Chamber of Commerce of FB&H and calls on state bodies to respond promptly.

- We understand the justified fears and clearly hear the warnings of our colleagues from Zenica steel factory, aware of the fact that, if the EU measures go through in the announced form, they can very easily go in the direction of the aluminum industry. Indeed, the current US and EU trade war may burst in the direction of customs duties on raw materials that are key to our production, all of which would be an inescapable impact on the already weakened Aluminij and the unstable economic space of B&H. It is difficult to predict all bad consequences that the destabilization of the metal industry would bring to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and if it is not responded in time, I'm afraid things will go in that direction - commented the Acting Director of Mostar’s Aluminij Dražen Pandža.

According to the data of The Camber of Commerce of FB&H, there are approximately 40,000 workers directly employed in the metal industry of B&H, while even so much are employed in supporting and service sectors and are indirectly dependent on the metal sector. Furthermore, more than 30 percent of the total B&H exports are made from metal, and more than 25 percent of total B&H production is related to the production of metal products.

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