Iran steelmakers request import duty hikes, cite cheap China steel

6 July 2015

Iranian steelmakers have asked the government to raise import duties for certain steels by up to 40 percent as protectionism in the global steel sector gathers pace amid a flood of cheap sales mostly from top producer China.

China steel exports have risen nearly 30 percent this year from record high levels last year despite government efforts to limit them. A drop in Chinese steel demand has even spurred some steelmakers to sell their output abroad at a loss.

In response, measures to protect steelmakers have been taken this year in countries including Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, India, the European Union, and Mexico.

"We have asked the government to raise import duties by up to 40 percent on flat steel products. For long products we plan to ask for duties of up to 30 percent," said Bahador Ahramian, a board member of the Iran Steel Producers Association (ISPA).

There was no reply from Iran's Ministry of Mine, Trade and Industry to Reuters emails.

Earlier this year, Iran raised import duties on certain steel imports to between 10 and 20 percent in response to a request from ISPA and in line with the government's bid to diversify the economy away from oil.

Tehran is anxious to protect its steel and iron ore sector, which it sees as a strategic because it supplies dozens of related industries, including construction and oil, and indirectly employs millions of people.

"We do not have proper anti-dumping duties in place in Iran and we hope these measures will function like anti-dumping duties in practice. Most of the steel imports into Iran are coming from China," added Ahramian.