IREPAS BARCELONA: Turkey calls for removal of barriers to global trade

Turkish steel producers are unfairly being subjected to a host of protectionist measures by other countries looking to support their own steel mills, according to the Turkish Steel Exporters Assn.

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Addressing delegates on Monday March 31 at the International Rebar Exporters & Producers Assn (Irepas) conference in Barcelona, Spain, Turkish Steel chairman Namik Ekinci slammed countries implementing trade barriers that “harm the domestic market in the long run by preventing the trading of goods and services under free-trade conditions, thereby damaging international trade.”

Ekinci said Turkish producers faced their biggest obstructions through “homologation or country certificates”, which take a very long time to obtain and are littered with obstacles during the certification process.

“Some importers in a particular country require certificates when importing from a foreign company,” he said. “However, every six months, they send inspectors to these factories to carry out inspections related to these certificates, which are valid for three years.

“More interestingly, if more than one importer wants to import from the same factory, a separate certificate must be issued for each importer,” he said, adding that the fee for certificates can run up to $80,000.

In some cases, importing countries have asked for physical and chemical tests to be carried out on Turkish steel products at the discharge terminal, which takes a long time and has lead to instances of vessel demurrage and storage costs that make trade practically impossible, Ekinci said.

To create a fair and open trade environment under the World Trade Organization principles, steel products traded in international markets must gain secure and foreseeable access to markets, trade barriers must be removed, mutual agreements must be concluded and the main principles of a multi-lateral trade system must be safeguarded, Ekinci said.

“The main aim of some of the industry players who want to manipulate these measures is not to win the case, but to create a chaotic situation in trade, to negatively affect foreign trade and increase their profits by raising their domestic sales prices.

“However, these attempts will prevent the development of the industry, will harm port authorities, transportation companies and all commercial and service businesses benefiting from this trade, and most importantly, the consumers,” he said.

Turkey recently cleared in an anti-dumping investigation initiated by Egypt and a preliminary judgment in a countervailing duty investigation started by the USA in 2013 ruled that the Turkish steel industry did not receive any state incentives.

“Instead of artificial profits, we must strive for rightful and just revenues. This is the only way to create an equitable, competitive and expansive international trade environment. And this will in turn help develop our industries,” he said.