Turkish steel producers expect EU to remove safeguards following WTO report

The Turkish Steel Producers’ Association expects the European Commission to remove safeguard measures on steel products as a World Trade Organization panel supported the thesis that these are contrary to international trade rules.

The removal of EU safeguards will contribute to the re-establishment of free and fair trade globally, as well as improve trade relations between Turkey and the EU, the TCUD said in a statement.

In an April 29 panel report shared with all WTO members, the organization called on the EU to bring its measure into conformity with the Agreement on Safeguards and the GATT 1994.

The WTO, however, declined to make a suggestion under Article 19.1 of the dispute settlement understanding.

“Removal of safeguard measures will also be an example for similar practices worldwide,” TCUD said, saying that if they were not removed, it expected Turkey to answer the measures according to the reciprocity principle.

The Turkish trade ministry, which launched an anti-dumping investigation into hot-rolled coil imports from the EU and South Korea earlier in 2022, on March 11 determined rates of 14.08%-49.84% to be applied to deliveries from a series of foreign producers.

The Board of Evaluation of Unfair Competition is expected to announce its final decision about the investigation within the second quarter of 2022.

The EU is traditionally one of Turkey’s largest steel export destinations, while the region is also one of Turkey’s largest steel suppliers.

Despite the decline seen in Turkey’s steel exports to the EU in the first quarter amid safeguard measures, TCUD said Turkey’s overall steel exports rose 4% in Q1 to 4.3 million mt as Turkish mills successfully diversified their export destinations.

The revenue generated from these exports jumped in Q1 to $4 billion amid globally higher steel prices.

Turkish exported rebar was at $960/mt FOB on April 1, reflecting a $220/mt jump since Feb. 23, the day before Russia invaded Ukraine, according to Platts assessments from S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Turkish mills’ rebar prices, however, have declined gradually since amid slowing demand and lower imported scrap prices.

The Platts Turkish exported rebar assessment was at $820/mt FOB on May 12, down $10/mt day on day.

Turkey’s overall steel imports also increased 0.6% on the year in Q1 to 4 million mt, while the cost of these imports jumped by 46.6% on the year to 4.2 billion, despite steel consumption dropping 6.5% ton the year o 8.5 million, TCUD data showed.

— Cenk Can