The Serbian government is initiating proceedings due to excessive imports of ribbed concrete steel in bars to protect domestic production, just as the European Union did last year when it restricted the import of certain types of steel from third world countries, including Serbia.
The procedure should determine whether construction ribbed concrete steel in bars is excessively imported into our country, which can lead to serious damage in the domestic industry, Politika writes.
This could be followed by the introduction of duties or quotas, as measures to protect against excessive imports, which increased by about 50 percent compared to 2015.
Whether this spillover on the Serbian market was partly due to the introduction of quotas on steel imports in the European Union or something else, remains to be determined by the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications.
If it is also established that the domestic industry has suffered damage, it may propose to the government a short-term measure, an increase in duties or a long-term introduction of a quota equal to the average import in the last three years.
Just like last year, the European Union introduced quotas on certain types of steel to Serbia, Turkey, Belarus and all countries that are not its members.
The company from Sremska Mitrovica, Metal Fair Style, which is the only producer of this product in the country, submitted sufficient evidence that the import of the observed product is rapidly increasing in absolute and relative values in relation to domestic production, which poses a threat of serious damage to domestic industry in the decision of the Government of Serbia to initiate proceedings.
The import of this construction material has increased, as it is written in that document, due to unforeseen circumstances, and especially due to trade measures that are continuously brought by a large number of countries, which additionally creates danger for redirecting trade flows towards Serbia, as an alternative market.
Goran Rodic, Vice President of the Civil Engineering Chamber of Serbia, supports the government’s decision to protect the only producer of this material in our country.
“The needs for this material are measured in tens of thousands of tons. By unplanned imports, we are stifling domestic production, which is the engine of the economy. It is necessary to protect and introduce measures to limit imports, of course if the domestic product is sold at reasonable prices. Through this pandemic, we have learned how important it is to have domestic production. Only what is necessary should be imported,” says Rodic.
According to the data of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, corrugated concrete steel was mostly imported from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece, and in 2018 and 2019, imports from Belarus, as well as from Turkey, increased sharply.
Consumption of concrete steel in Serbia is continuously increasing, but the share of domestic producers, despite large investments, is maintained at approximately the same level, instead of growing, so importers have benefited significantly more from increased demand, the document states.
Inventories of domestic product are constantly increasing, and from 2017 to 2019 there was an enormous increase in the absolute amount of 437.4 percent, which, according to the authorities, indicates the impossibility of exporting to traditional markets, difficult sales in the domestic market and great danger from the occurrence of serious damage to the domestic producer.
The import price of steel ribbed bars from Turkey and Belarus is significantly lower than other imported prices and the price of the domestic producer from Sremska Mitrovica, which had to reduce its selling price in order to maintain market share, which, along with increased costs of goods sold, led to to a drop in profitability. Increased imports could jeopardize this otherwise largest domestic greenfield investment and lead to layoffs, BizLife reports.