Industry and globalisation

80th Session of the Steel Committee, Brussels, 19 April 2016


The future of steel in the economy and society

Governments need to know how their economies and industries will evolve over the longer term, to ensure that steel industry policies are consistent with broader industrial developments. This session explored long-term trends in the steel sector and how new technological developments might affect the way steel is produced and used in the future.

Global market integration entails a number of important challenges related to the future evolution of global value chains. Industrial upgrading and moving from volume to a focus on value will be of high importance for steel companies to remain competitive in this context.

 A major challenge for the steel industry in the future will be to mitigate skills mismatches. Further integration into global value chains, the emergence of new production processes and the increased digitalisation of manufacturing will require new and different skills, emphasising the role of education and training to ensure that workers are equipped with the right skills .

Environmental challenges will also play a key role in shaping the future of the steel sector. As an important CO2 emitter and energy-intensive industry, the steel sector will need to look for solutions that will help facilitating a transition to a low-carbon economy. The discussions on steel's contribution to a low carbon economy are particularly relevant given the recent COP 21 commitments.


Setting the scene

The nature of manufacturing is evolving rapidly, with new ways to manufacture existing goods as well as the emergence of new products based on advanced technologies. New techniques, such as additive and automated manufacturing, the use of smart machines, and the development of new strong and light materials might generate significant challenges and opportunities for the steel industry. In this context, the increased diffusion and use of digital technologies will likely have an impact upon innovation, productivity, and dramatically change steel production. These trends may result in important global steel demand and production shifts in the longer term.

  • The Secretariat provided an overview of STI projects of relevance to the future of steel, such as work on Global Value Chains, Next Production Revolution, Digitalisation of Economy and Society or Productivity.
  • Presentation by Mr. Pierluigi Molajoni on steel intensity peaks and the geographical distribution of future steel demand growth.



Under this agenda item, representatives from industry, trade unions and other stakeholders were invited to provide insights on the long‑term challenges facing the steel industry.

  • Presentation by Mr. Rafael Rubio, ALACERO on the challenges of the Latin American Steel Industry.


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