German states, industry leaders gather for national steel summit

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Steel industry leaders and politicians are meeting in the western German city of Saarbruecken later on Monday to try and improve the industry’s prospects amid challenges to their business.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier, the head of metalworkers’ union IG-Metall, and the head of the German Steel Federation are attending the first such national meeting.

“The steel alliance should make it clear that it will take the collective efforts of companies and politicians to keep the industry competitive in the long term,” IG-Metall head Joerg Hofman said.

A oversupply of steel on the market, climate change and the trade in greenhouse gas emissions, and digitalization were all challenges facing the sector, he said.

German firms would have to pay some 3.5 billion euros (4 billion dollars) to buy emissions trading certificates in the coming decade, Steel Federation boss Juergen Kerkhoff told Die Welt newspaper. And that did not include rising energy costs, he said.

Worldwide steel demand is expected to grow by 3.9 per cent this year, to 1.7 billion tons, although risk factors such as the international conflict over trade tariffs is expected to put a brake on growth in 2019.

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