Turkish steelmakers hope that product diversification, along
with a push to fill existing supply gaps, will propel the
industry toward self-sufficiency, according to executives from
the nations steel trade groups.
Since the recession,
Turkey has faced the same sluggish growth as other global
steelmakers. But the countrys steel industry has bounced
back due to its cost-competitiveness and strong export volumes,
members of the Turkish steel delegation told AMM in an
interview during the Steel Success Strategies XXVIII conference
in New York.
"Despite the ongoing
crisis and seasonal effects, in the first four months there was
a 3-percent increase in steel consumption, so its an
important development for us," Namik Ekinci, chairman of the
Turkish Steel Exporters Association, said.
steel production grew 5.2 percent to 35.9 million tons last
year, according to World Steel Association data, with the
country overtaking Brazil and Ukraine to become the
worlds eighth-largest steelmaker. Imports, however, rose
10.8 percent to 11.8 million tons, due mainly to high levels of
flat steel and slab.
Ekinci said that while
imports arent necessarily a negative thing, particularly
because of the nations open markets, Turkish
steelmakerspredominantly known for making long
productsare trying to become more active in the flats
sector to satisfy domestic demand. "In the past, there was only
one facility for flat production," he said. "Now, there are
many investments for flat products and the number
Veysel Yayan, general
secretary of the Turkish Iron and Steel Producers
Association, said Turkeys steel industry has dragged its
feet in the flats sector due to competition from neighboring
countries such as Ukraine and Russia. "So now, under these
market conditions, the (blast oxygen furnace) facilities are
running at 100 percent (of capacity) but (electric-arc
furnaces) are running at a very low capacity utilization
because ... margins are not satisfactory with scrap (prices),"
suggestions that Turkey is an unfair player in the global
market due to its large volume of exports. Instead, he said,
steelmakers have adopted a competitive cost structure, even
with natural gas prices that are two to three times higher than
those in the United States.
"We always choose to
proceed within World Trade (Organization) rules. So, if there
are some countries that say we cannot send materials to (their)
backyard, actually, were not taking it positively," he
surfaced in recent years about U.S. trade cases against Turkey,
including imports of wire rod and reinforcing bar. However,
both Turkish executives said they were not aware of the rumors,
reaffirming that its industry is simply more cost-competitive
rather than acting illegally.
theres no dumping from Turkey. The U.S. authorities are
well aware of this," Ekinci said. "Also, the people who spread
these rumors ... what theyre trying to do is to ...
create confusion for importers. So, (with) confusion for
importers and exporters from Turkey, they think they (will)
gain (some) advantage."
Ekinci added that
Turkeys steelmaking facilities are technologically
advanced, its inputs and raw materials are used efficiently and
its workforce and productivity levels are both high. "We
entered the market not with high profit margins. We make a
reasonable profit," he said.
Moving forward, the
Turkish steel industry will continue to grow, but the
association said that its top goals are to diversify its
product mix, allow for more self-sufficiency in its steel
industry and add value to steel.
"We will compete on
the basis of high value. On the basis of price, to make dispute
is not (a) solution. As its been mentioned, were
making newer and newer items to make more efficient and more
attractive steel," Yayan said.