Turkey's steel sector could face losses after cuts to EU quotas, says industry chief

The Turkish steel sector is facing further damage brought on by new restrictions on imports to the European Union next month, despite efforts to seek new markets to compensate for losses from the U.S. and EU tariffs, Turkey’s Steel Exporters’ Association (CIB) chief said.

The new restrictions will lead to a contraction in Turkey’s flat steel and rebar exports despite the country’s efforts overcome the quota restrictions imposed by the European Union in February with alternative markets, Reuters quoted Adnan Aslan as saying.

“We can see the limitations are aimed at curbing imports from Turkey,” Aslan said. “It is not understandable why the EU... wants to limit country-based imports.”

Turkey is battling an economic slowdown, which has taken its toll on its construction, automotive and white goods sectors. Steel consumption in the domestic market contracted by 31 percent in the first seven months of this year. 

Steel exports will fall to $13 billion in 2019 from $15.6 billion last year, Aslan told Reuters.

 In February, EU quotas for 26 grades of steel were set at the average level of imports in 2015-2017 plus 5 percent, with further 5 percent hikes expected in July and in July 2020.

But the European Commission later cut this year’s quota increase to 3 percent from 5 percent, effective Oct. 1 while limiting any one country to a 30 percent share of imports of hot-rolled flat steel per quarter, Reuters said.

In 2018, Turkey exported more than one third of its 21.4 million tonnes of steel to the EU.