EU’s new quota regulation to hit Turkish mills’ HRC exports

Turkish mills’ slammed the European Union’s new import quota system, is expected to reduce Turkey’s hot-rolled coil exports to that region, describing it as contradictory to World Trade Organization free trade rules.

According to the EU’s notification to the WTO, it will impose a country-specific quota on HRC imports as of July 1, instead of a global quota, which is expected to especially impact Turkey’s exports.

Turkey shipped more than 3 million mt of HRC to the EU region during a 12-month period to July 2019, while the country’s HRC shipments fell to 1.5 million mt during July 2019-March 2020 period, annualized to 2 million mt.

With the new quota regulation, Turkish mills can only ship 1.37 million mt of HRC to the EU region during the July 2020 to July 2021 period, a sharp on-year decline in export volumes.

According to the EU’s notification to the WTO seen by S&P Global Platts, Turkey can export 344,890 mt of HRC to the EU region in the quarter starting July 1; 344,890 mt in the quarter starting October 1; 337,393 mt in the quarter starting January 1, 2021, and 341,141 mt in the quarter starting April 1, 2021.

Drawing attention to the ongoing decline in Turkish mills’ steel export volumes to the EU in recent years, due to the quotas, Ugur Dalbeler, CEO of a major Turkish HRC producer and a director of the Turkish Steel Exporters’ Union (CIB), told Platts on June 1 that with this new move the European steel sector showed its desperation and negative attitude against Turkey.

“This move is definitely against the WTO rules and politically motivated. With this decion, the EU steel sector became a government-regulated sector as it is losing its competitiveness,” Dalbeler said, adding that the latest quota review increased their mistrust in the European Commission’s decisions.

The EC recently launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of certain hot-rolled flat products from Turkey following a request by European steel association Eurofer. The association also filed a complaint at the beginning of last week with the EC requesting a countervailing duty (CVD) investigation against allegedly subsidized hot-rolled coil imports from Turkey.

As a reply to these moves Turkey informed the WTO on May 25 that customs duties could be imposed on steel imports from the EU, in response to the EU’s move for additional measures against EU imports of Turkish steel.

Turkey is planning to impose duties ranging from 9% to 17% on some flat-rolled products, non-alloy bars and angles from the EU region, under HS codes: 7208, 7209, 7210, 7211, 7212, 7214, 7215 and 7216, in an effort to balance trade between the parties.

— Cenk Can