Iran’s steel industry blasts out of the blocks despite sanctions
Iran is capable of producing 25 million tonnes of steel in the current fiscal year which ends on March 21, 2019 but foreign sanctions and duties are a big hurdle, the head of the Iranian Steel Producers Association says.
According to Press TV, data by the World Steel Association showed last month Iranian steel production rose to record 20.6 million tonnes in the first 10 months of 2018, making the country the world’s 11th biggest producer.
This figure can rise to 25 million tonnes by the end of the current Persian Year provided that the government puts its weight behind the push, Bahram Sobhani said on Monday.
About 9-10 million tonnes of this amount can be exported if everything goes as planned and the government facilitates conditions for exports, he added.
In the past, the government has left no stone unturned in bolstering the sector, withdrawing the special rate foreign exchange allocation for steel imports in a bid to support local production.
“Sanctions and other external constraints have made exports of steel products difficult. In this situation, it is expected that the Central Bank, customs and other bodies will put hands together to export steel. Otherwise, the surplus output should be stocked or production slashed,” Sobhani said.
Iran’s steel exports are already facing an increasingly hostile terrain in Europe where the bloc’s executive body, the European Commission, has levied trade tariffs against Iranian products.
Last October, the European Union decided to hit hot-rolled steel from Iran with trade tariffs despite initial opposition to punitive measures by European governments.
US sanctions introduced in August represent a double-whammy. In October, the US Treasury announced sanctions on Mobarakeh Steel Company, the largest steel maker in the Middle East and North Africa and one of the largest industrial complexes operating in Iran.
However, the degree of the Iranian steel sector’s vulnerability to outside sanctions is markedly reduced.
Iran exported an average of 1.35 million tonnes of steel in 2011 and 2012. That capacity has risen to about 8 million tonnes now, indicating how the sector has grown by leaps and bounds.