GCC countries urged to review duty on imported steel, says industry expert

Story dated:Tuesday February 28th, 2017,06 01:am

HE Abdallah Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Industrial Affairs at the UAE Ministry of Economy, for UAE visited Conares’ steel manufacturing plants in Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA), Dubai on Wednesday.

The steel manufacturing sector in UAE is seeking further support to prevent dumping of cheap steel imports in the country, says a leading steel manufacturer. This inflow of dumped foreign products into the country has caused a massive damage to the local producers over the past few years.

“We are trying to address these challenges by providing quality certified items in conjunction with marketing ‘Made in UAE’ steel products, which we believe, would help us avoid losing market share to foreign dumping. The UAE is self-sufficient to cater to the current demand of 3.5 to 4 million tonnes annually,” said Mr. Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares, the second largest private steel rebar manufacturer in the UAE.

He added the UAE Ministry of Economy (MoE) has been adopting the best course of actions to ensure that local steel manufactures perform well in the market and contribute to the economy. “However, we seek stronger support from the government to mitigate the damage to the local steel producers. This is because the ‘Made in UAE’ steel products are more reliable than imports. We are closer to the market than foreign manufactured products that usually take at least 30 days to arrive in the UAE. The UAE traders are keen to buy locally, save inventory costs and avoid price fluctuations.”

Mr. Bhatia discussed several matters including safeguarding duty on rebars and imposed duty on steel pipes with HE Abdallah Al Shamsi, Assistant Undersecretary for Industrial Affairs, and Mr. Karim Toumi, International Trade Law Expert at the Ministry of Economy during their visit to Conares' steel manufacturing facilities in Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) in Dubai on Wednesday.

HE Al Shamsi said, “It was interesting to visit the state-of- the-art steel rebar and pipe manufacturing plants of Conares in JAFZA. We are happy to extend additional support, as the ‘Made in UAE’ products have not only gained market wide acceptance but also are preferred choice of many prestigious projects in the country today.”

Safeguard duty on rebars

“We are constantly monitoring such industries in the UAE, as this promotes the 'Made in UAE' products, establishing the country's commitment towards industrialisation and eventually contributing to the growth of UAE economy. The GCC countries continue studying the options to raise the tariffs on imported steel, aimed at helping protect local steel producers from cheap imports. We have traditionally kept steel tariffs low to facilitate local building booms. There are lot of measures in plan to control dumping of cheaper steal products from some countries, as this puts local steel producers at a tremendous disadvantage,” HE Al Shamsi added.

Mr. Bhatia further said, “The government's initiatives to promote local manufactured products has strengthened producers to meet the requirements of the traders aggressively. This has benefitted all the stakeholders across the supply chain within the construction industry. To continuously encourage the steel manufacturers, it is required to implement regulatory measures like safeguard duty that could possibly cover a range of steel products.”

Imposed duty on steel pipes

“It is not in the key agenda for the UAE to approach the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for imposing anti- dumping charges levied on steel pipes in the wake of the U.S. International Trade Commission’s earlier decision against the UAE and some other countries for allegedly exporting the pipes to the US for less than fair value.

Approaching the WTO is just one of the options, as there are certain mechanisms needed to be in place before going to the Organisation,” HE Al Shamsi said.

“Conares is in a growth path to deliver 1 million metric tons of steel annually. We are continuously evolving our steel production capabilities to meet the growing demand of the UAE and the Middle East region. We have the capacity, and are improving on the technological front to address local requirements in line with the ongoing infrastructure development activities to support the Expo 2020 to be hosted in the UAE,” Mr. Bhatia said.

“The UAE steel manufacturing sector anticipates a growth in the industry by 30 per cent until the end of this decade, which will help them cater to the odd three to four million metric tonnes rebar demands for all these projects. The expected increase in growth will be at 10 per cent in 2017, 20 per cent in 2018 and a similar pace in 2019. This is an estimate based on the projects,” he concluded.

About Conares

With its foothold securely placed in the steel industry, Conares is the one of the largest and the only private steel manufacturers in the region.

Since its inception in 1988, Conares initially focused on steel trading. Having built extensive partnerships with renowned steel plants across the world, it brought the world-best competencies to the region, by setting up its own state of art manufacturing facility in UAE. The company earmarked AED 200 million towards expansions by the year 2020. Being a 100 per cent privately owned entity, the company assets exceed US$300 million of investments in the UAE.

As the Middle East focuses on infrastructure development, Conares serves as the perfect partner to meet the growing industry requirements for steel rebars and pipes. A diversified and full-fledged manufacturing facility based in the UAE, the strategic hub between the East and the West, Conares today is the premier producer of quality steel products for wide-ranging needs; is in line to have a total manufacturing capacity of more than 1,000,000 MT annually. Conares earned various international product certifications for its various steel products, which it serves in the fledgling construction industry in the region and abroad. Meanwhile, its on-going efforts in streamlining its manufacturing operations to be safe for its employees and community have earned the company its sustainability certification from UK CARES Sustainability Scheme.

From its central location in Dubai, UAE; Conares serves an extensive network of clientele including pre-engineering companies, steel trading companies and construction majors not in the Middle East but across wider markets that are easily accessed from its headquarters. Led by a team of experienced and skilled professionals, Conares today employs more than 500 people. Conares has set new benchmarks in the steel industry through its commitment to quality, excellence and service standards. A trusted name in the industry, Conares is led by the vision to support the region’s infrastructure development by providing world-class steel products through long-term partnerships. At Conares every business partnership, each product, every process and any aspect of service is defined by three core values – Trust, Quality & Strength.