EU plan to start HRC import registration draws Turkish mills’ reactions

News that the European Commission accepted Eurofer’s request and will soon announce that HRC imports from Turkey will be subject to registration, a prerequisite for the imposition of retroactive antidumping duties, drew Turkish mills’ and some European buyers’ reactions.

Veysel Yayan, general secretary of the Turkish Steel Producers’ Association (TCUD), told Platts on Nov. 6 that although they didn’t receive any formal notice yet from the EC, they will not be surprised if the EC will make a decision in this regard.

“Eurofer knows no limit in protectionism,” Yayan said adding that the EC is trying to block imports from Turkey.

Ugur Dalbeler, CEO of major Turkish steelmaker Colakoglu, also told Platts Nov. 6 that, despite some news that the EU will soon start import registration of HRC imports from Turkey, no information about it reached them yet.

The EC launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of certain hot-rolled flat products from Turkey in mid-May following a request by European steelmakers’ group Eurofer. The preliminary decision in the investigation is expected to be announced on Dec. 23 to be imposed on Jan. 14, 2021. A retroactive duty, however, can be collected on previously imported HRC from Turkey as of the time that the EC begins registering the imports, which could limit Turkish HRC exports by raising concerns among European buyers.

“The Turkish situation is an important factor for Italy, where a lot of big companies depend on them for hot-rolled coil,” an Italian service center source told Platts Nov. 6.

“In the last few weeks, some buyers decided to take a position with Turkish sellers, considering to cover the duty risk with a good price, but now with this new [import registration] situation, the real risk will be taking the duty. I think they [Turkish sellers] will decide to increase their prices to customers, in order to cover part of the damage,” the Italian source said, adding that he expects a bullish week with mills and service centers determined to increase their prices as long as [Turkish] imports remain absent.

The EC also started a countervailing duty (CVD) investigation on June 12 against allegedly subsidized HRC imports from Turkey based on Eurofer’s appeal in this regard, as Platts has reported.

The EC, which announced safeguard measures on Oct. 30 with a tariff-rate quota on steel imports from the UK into the EU from Jan. 1, 2021, also lowered other quota volumes as of January 2021, including Turkey’s.

According to the EC notice, the import quota for Turkish HRC imports has been reduced to to 313,791 mt from 337,391, while the quota for Turkish rebar imports was lowered to 58,826 mt from 75,123 mt for the quarter starting Jan. 1, 2021.

With the new quotas, Turkish mills can only ship around 1.3 million mt of HRC to the EU region within a year, a sharp year-on-year decline in export volumes, according to Platts’ calculations.

— Cenk Can, Amanda Flint