Having been protected by trade measures for seven years, Moroccan steel producers call for the prolongation of existing safeguards for long and flat products. The local authorities have decided to satisfy the request and already started respective proceedings.
The Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy opened on August 17, 2021 two separate cases to evaluate the need to extend safeguard measures for rebar and wire rod as well as CRC and HDG, which will expire at the end of 2021, according to the official documents. The investigation for long steel was requested by four members of Moroccan Steel Producers’ Association (ASM), namely Sonasid, Riva Industries, Soma Steel and Universal Industrial Steel, which represent 70% of the national production in the segment.
All parties that want to take part in investigations should contact the Ministry within 15 days, till September 7 and provide feedback in terms suggested by the general procedure. All concerned parties have time till September 28 to make one’s case.
Such a step was rather expectable as local steel mills always underline that “the safeguard measures were insufficient to completely rectify the economic situation of the domestic industry”. In the meantime, buyers express concern, considering Moroccan products as overpriced. “These measures are in force for more than 5 years and local steelmakers have not managed to gain competitiveness despite having access to relatively cheap raw materials compared to European competitors, but sell finished steel products at prices higher by around 20%.”.
Morocco imposed safeguard measures for rebar and wire rod on March 27, 2014, and for CRC and HDG on August 29, 2015, and they were already extended in both cases.
The measures suggest an application of duty-free quotas, while all extra tonnages are subject to duty. For 2021, the Ministry set rebar quota at 116,923 t compared to 106,294 t last year; the numbers for wire rod supplies remained unchanged at 146,410 t.
All volumes exceeding the mentioned tonnages face a duty of MAD 550/t ($61.4/t; $1 = MAD 8.9575). For the flat steel segment, the quota allocation for CRC is 32,400 t, while for coated steel 3,600 t, the same as in 2020, with the extra volumes subject to a 15% (versus 15.5% last year).