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Latin America steel market to feel import effects

Keywords: Tags  steel imports, Latin America, Benjamin Baptista, Alacero, Ana Paula Camargo

SÃO PAULO — The Latin American steel industry is expected to remain cautious in 2013 as the result of increasing imports and uncertain global economic conditions.

Concerns about the European market, lingering doubts of a U.S. economic recovery and a reduced growth forecast for China are shrinking export options for Latin America’s steel sector, Benjamin Baptista, president of Latin American steel association Alacero, told AMM sister publication Steel First.

At the same time, the economic slowdown experienced by other countries—especially China—has transformed Latin America into an attractive destination for exports, flooding the regional marketplace. "Estimates for 2012 show that Latin America accounts for 7.4 percent of China’s total exports of manufactured steel goods. A decade before, in 2002, Latin America (accounted for) only 2.3 percent of these shipments," Baptista said.

The region will continue to attract high exports of both steel and manufactured steel products in 2013, he said. As a result, protective trade measures such as anti-dumping duties will continue to be taken by governments as a tool to "curb and correct" unfair trade practices.

Baptista said the region should jointly develop defensive trade actions in order to reduce its vulnerability to unfair and diverted trade.

"The best way to fight growing imports and unfair trade is through clear policies favoring regional industrialization, promoting investments, work force development and innovation, (and) making the region even more competitive in the global scenario," he said.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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