U.S. steel tariff to have a minor impact on ME steel rebar market

The steel rebar industry is apparently facing a major blow from Trump’s latest decision of imposing steep tariffs on imported steel. If reports are to be relied on, the National Committee for Steel Industry of Saudi Arabia (NCSI) has raised a serious concern in this regard, stating that the move might result in a huge steel influx in alternative markets.

According to the committee, subject to high USA tariffs, major steel exporters would be redirecting to other regional markets where the import tariffs are comparatively less. It has been also speculated that countries across the GCC and Middle East belt are on the verge of greater risk, on the grounds of their liberal trade policies. Thus, regulatory authorities would have to implement strict pre-emptive actions in a bid to protect the regional steel rebar market from unnecessary competition.

In an official statement, Rayed Al-Ajaji, one of the chairpersons of NCSI has opined that the implementation of policies at a slow pace to restrain harmful trade practices might prove to be stumbling block in the growth of domestic steel sector. He further brings to notice the safeguard duty case on prepainted steel, which till date has no duty imposition, despite its investigation closure in April, last year. According to him, the current scenario clearly depicts the volatile state of the domestic steel sector resulting from material injury during imports.

Throwing a light on steel rebar industry, Abdulaziz Al-Hudaib, Vice Chairperson of NCSI, has been quoted saying that the regional market is facing tremendous downturn over the past few years. For the record, a majority of operations have reduced to capacity of approximately 50pct, with a domestic production capacity of 12.5 mln tons. The demand is also witnessing a steep descending curve, with nearly 6.3 mln tons.

In a bid to respond to the challenging situation, he suggested that the regulatory framework should be more stringent, which would ensure periodic inspection of factories to restrain substandard rebar production that are not compliant with the national specifications.