Europeans OK Limit on Steel Exports : Official Hails Pact to Keep Shipments at 5.5% of U.S. Market

United Press International

The U.S. trade chief announced today that the European Community has agreed to hold its steel exports to 5.5% of the American market in a pact that “will preserve the integrity of the President’s steel program.”

U.S. trade representative Clayton Yeutter praised officials of the 10-nation European Community for completing negotiations and for voluntarily agreeing to restrain steel shipments to the United States.

“This is a major accomplishment for the President’s steel program,” Yeutter said, “as well as a major step forward for trade relations between the United States and the EC.”

$2.5 Billion in Exports


The arrangement covers more than $2.5 billion of European Community steel exports to the United States. European Community exports of all finished steel products will be held to 5.5% of the U.S. consumption--20% below the 6.6% share the community has taken during the first nine months of this year.

The agreement will last from Jan. 1, 1986, through Sept. 30, 1989. It narrowly averted punitive actions threatened by Yeutter on Thursday when he urged the Europeans to set new limits on steel exports to the United States by today. The three-year steel pact expires on Dec. 31, but the United States and the community had set a negotiating deadline of Thursday.

Steel export negotiations had been going on in Washington and in Brussels for the last six weeks.

Drastic Steps Threatened


A frustrated Yeutter, who had been pushing President Reagan’s program for voluntary restraints to give the steel industry time to become internationally competitive, had threatened to slash European steel imports and in some cases cut them off for the rest of the year until new limits were approved.

Under the new agreement, which is now subjected to the approval process of the European Community, separate allocations will be provided for 33 product categories.

Several new products were added to the arrangement, which were not covered by the first U.S.-community steel pact. These include wire rope, wire strand, stainless steel and fabricated structural steel.