LONDON - The Group of 20 (G20) will announce policy solutions to combat global steel overcapacity by November 2017, the organization said in a statement published on July 10.

Policy announcements later this year will follow an enhancement of information sharing and cooperation in August among members of the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity.

The group reiterated its support for a “truly level playing field” in global trade, and its opposition to market-distorting subsidies from governments and other organizations, following its summit of world leaders in Hamburg, Germany.

European steel trade federation Eurometal welcomed the G20’s comments and interpreted them as support for European Union anti-dumping measures against steel imports.

“The G20 statement recognizes the right of members to apply legitimate trade defense instruments (and) to address unfair trade practices,” Eurometal said on July 10.

“This statement comes as the (European) Commission (EC) mulls new trade defense instruments to fight dumping practices from countries where there are significant distortions to free-market forces,” it added.

The EC is currently deciding whether to set definitive duties on imports of hot-rolled coil (HRC) from five countries, including Russia.

Section 232

The G20’s comments also come at a time when the United States is threatening to punish steel imports through its Section 232 investigation, which would allow President Donald Trump to set import duties on materials he considers a threat to national security.

US steel producers remain staunch supporters of Section 232, and their expectations that stringent tariffs will be applied to steel imports has prompted certain mills to push for price rises.

But European organizations such as Eurometal have warned that the investigations could create strongly negative effects in the global steel trade.

“Free and fair international steel trading is at considerable risk, with unpredictable dangers of a spiraling trade war in steel,” Eurometal said.

In contrast to European worries, the Australian government has secured an exemption from any tariffs arising from Section 232 on exports to the US of both steel and aluminum, according to Australian news suppliers The Australian and News.com.au.

Australia’s exports to the US are worth around $130 million per year, according to The Australian.