Jul 30 2018

Turkey's steelmakers eye West Africa in response to tariffs, quotas

Turkish steelmakers have their eyes set on West Africa in response to tariffs and planned quotas threatening their sales to the European Union and United States, Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper reported.

Turkey is looking to boost trade with West Africa and sub-Saharan countries, due to their demand for the less capital-intensive steel products, the daily quoted Namık Ekinci, the board Chair for the Turkish Steel Exporters Association, as saying.

"Looking at the product types these countries consume, it's products that we have the capability to produce like rebar and pipes. Therefore, these countries are markets where we have a chance," Ekinci said.

Turkey, which is the world's eighth biggest steel producer, ranks second in global exports of rebar, according to figures from the World Steel Association.

U.S. President Donald Trump in March imposed a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminium imports, a move which led to a 56 percent slump in Turkey's exports to the United States for the first five months of 2018.

Ekinci noted Turkey wanted to increase its effectiveness in other emerging markets "as the United States and the European Union adopt measures to make trade harder."

To this end, the country is aiming to increase Turkey's market share in West Africa from below 5 percent to 15 percent by way of cutting shipping costs, the Daily Star reported.

Erdoğan, who has visited 20 African countries since being elected president in 2014, has been very vocal about wanting to play a major role in development and trade in the continent.

Turkey’s total trade volume with Africa rose from $5.4 billion in 2003 to $16.7 billion in 2016, and to nearly $20 billion by the end of 2017.