Smederevo based “Zelezara” – the first SERBIAN VICTIM of the trade war betwen the United States and China
The President of the United States Donald Trump has never been in Smederevo. The Chinese President Xi Jinping was there once. However, some of their moves have determined business results of Smederevo based ironworks, RTS reports. It all started with the U.S. imposing customs on cheap Chinese steel. China responded with the same measure. The U.S. then introduced customs to Europe as well. And Europe, in response, imposed restrictions on steel from Third World countries, including Serbia. Thus, Smederevo based ironworks became the first Serbian victim of the world trade war between Trump and Xi Jinping, RTS reports. Brussels introduced quotas in February, at the suggestion of Eurofer, a powerful association of European steel producers. Since then there has been a global quota. According to it, all Third World countries can export only 3.3 million tons of steel by the end of June. At a time when restrictions were introduced, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic claimed that Serbia would not be affected by these measures. Professor Radovan Kovacevic says it is possible that our authorities had political promises. “According to what we could read in the press, the EU had some diplomatic formulation in the sense that it would not significantly affect our exports. I expected that these quotas would be circumvented in some way. However, we were wrong and we did not have the expected treatment. Thus, those quotas are starting to have effect,” Kovacevic points out. February quotas were just the beginning of a steel war in which Serbia is involved. A new drama is happening now. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic mentioned steel in the parliamentary debate on Kosovo. “I am deeply worried about the announcements of Eurofer regarding our steel. I am so concerned that I am thinking of asking Ana (Brnabic) to leave the assembly and deal with this. As this can literally mean a shot, a bullet in the forehead for our country, if they persevere in these decisions,” Vucic warned. What happened from February to June? Chinese owners of Smederevo based ironworks have understood what the global quota means in practice. By the end of this month the Third World countries have the right to export a total of 3.3 million tonnes. Eurofer data shows that the Third World countries exported 2.2 million tonnes of steel only in the first three months. Europe has already banned further export. Now Smederevo based Hesteel cannot export a single gram. Ban will be lifted in July. Then new quotas come into force. When they were introduced, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic stated that there is possibility of their revision. As RTS unofficially reports, Serbia’s negotiation team resided in Brussels these days, trying to negotiate additional increase in quotas.