Turkey lifts provisional safeguard measures on S. Korean steel

2019.05.09 09:29:19

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Turkey has lifted its provisional duties on steel products imported from South Korea upon a decision to wrapping up its investigation on safeguard measures without taking further action, erasing uncertainties over Korea’s steel export to Turkey.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy on Wednesday, Turkey announced on Tuesday it will terminate its safeguard investigation on steel imports without taking further action. Following the termination, a provisional 25-percent tariff on steel imports would be immediately lifted.

Turkey initiated its investigation on “emergency” safeguard measures against steel imports in April last year and put quotas on the amount of steel it imports with an additional 25-percent tariff on any imports above the quotas in October in a bid to stop an influx of steel imports into the country. Turkey concerned steel imports into the country would have suddenly increased after the U.S. imposed a 25-percent tariff on steel products on Apr. 27, and the European Union impose safeguard measures as part of trade restriction.

With the lift of safeguard investigation and provisional measures, uncertainty over Korea’s steel export to Turkey has eased, a great relief to Korean steelmakers grappling with limited exports to the U.S. and the EU that are guarding their steel industry under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act and safeguard measures, respectively. Last year, Korea’s steel exports to Turkey totaled 818,000 tons valued at $850 million.

Industry watchers also expected that Tukey’s lift of safeguard measures would enable stable raw material supply to Korean automakers in the country and pave the way for Korean steelmakers to secure a potential market.

After the launch of Turkey’s safeguard investigation on steel imports, the Korean government formed a private and public joint delegation with the industry including Posco, Hyundai Steel, Hyundai BNG Steel, and Hyundai Motor, and have hosted a series of public hearings to explain the unfairness of the safeguard measures whiling calling for an exemption. The delegation also met with senior officials from Turkey and urged swift termination of the safeguard investigation against Korean steel products.

The delegation, in particular, stressed that the provisional safeguard measures on imported steel products should be lifted as they did not meet requirements under World Trade Organization rules, such as a sudden and unforeseen surge in imports and serious damage to a country’s steel industry, to impose the measures.

The Korean government also hopes Turkey’s latest decision would help prevent other countries from following suit of the U.S. and the EU that put safeguard measures to guard their steel industry.

By Lim Sung-hyun and Lee Eun-joo

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