NEW YORK The recent proliferation of trade cases and strong rhetoric against U.S. steel imports could lead to further protectionism around the world, according to one Turkish executive.
"This is encouraging a lot of other countries to follow the same way, to build up walls against their markets trying to protect (them), and this is not going to be good for world steel trade," Ugur Dalbeler, chief executive officer of Istanbul-based steelmaker Colakoglu Metalurji AS and director of the Turkish Steel Exporters Association, told AMM on the sidelines of the Steel Success Strategies XXIX conference in New York.
Dalbeler said Turkish market participants were particularly surprised at a recent post-preliminary decision by the U.S. Commerce Departments International Trade Administration in a countervailing case on oil country tubular goods (OCTG) from Turkey that reassessed Borusan Mannesmann Boru Sanayi ve Ticaret AS subsidy margin to 25.76 percent from zero previously.
"What has happened in the recent OCTG case ... the reasoning is so silly. No one can put up a reasonable explanation in our eyes," he said. "Turkey has proven in many, many cases that there is no subsidy whatsoever; it always received (a) zero margin."
The ITA determined in late April that Turkeys Ereğli Demir ve Çelik Fabrikalari TAS (Erdemir), acting as a government-controlled entity, sold hot-rolled coil at below market value to Borusan, resulting in the revised duty for the pipe and tube maker (amm.com, April 25).
Ali Pandir, chairman and managing director of Istanbul-based Erdemir, told AMM on the sidelines of the conference that the company is not government-owned or controlled. "Erdemir is absolutely not a government entity. Oyak (Ordu Yardimlasma Kurumu), which is the majority shareholder of Erdemir, is also not government owned. The misperception comes from Oyak being a retirement fund of the Turkish armed forces. But like any retirement fund, it gets its funding from the savings of the members of the armed forces," he said. "There is no subsidy nor any government control over Oyak or Erdemir," which is publicly traded.
Erdemir, which is not a party to the subsidy case, exports less than 10 percent of its production, according to Pandir.
Dalbeler said that he believes U.S. steelmakers enjoy some indirect subsidies, "not on a federal level, maybe, but on a state level."
He also intimated that increasing political pressure on Commerce could be clouding the dumping investigation process, which he said until now has always been an example to the rest of the world in terms of its openness and rigor.