Iran has brushed aside European charges of possible dumping after Europe’s steel lobby group Eurofer characterized Iranian steel exports as a threat.
Eurofer said last week that Iranian exports to Europe had leapt to more than 1 million tonnes annually and that the EU was investigating alleged dumping of hot-rolled steel by the Middle Eastern country.
“This is at the level of accusation against Iran. We do not accept such a thing,” Director of the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) Mehdi Karbasian was quoted as saying Monday.
Iran has been boosting steel production, targeting an output plateau of 55 million tonnes per year by 2015. The country currently produces 16 million tonnes, which is one percent of the world total.
Charges of possible dumping are against Iran’s and Middle East’s biggest mill Mobarakeh Steel Company which produces 7.2 million tonnes per year, Karbasian said.
“This issue against Mobarakeh Steel Company has been raised while the firm is making its exports to Europe in line with international regulations,” he said.
According to Karbasian, Iran exported 4 million tonnes of steel last year, breaking that record in the current Persian year which ends on March 20. A statement on IMIDRO’s website says exports are expected to hit 20-25 million tonnes by 2025.
“Hence, some parties are raising these issues because they are losing their share of the market in the face of a global demand downturn,” the official added.
Karbasian said Iran had hired a lawyer to defend the country. “Moreover, there is no evidence against Iran and this accusation cannot be proven.”
Europe has already imposed penalties on China, prompting an angry response and a WTO complaint from Beijing.
Last week, a European Commission source cited by Reuters said the EU executive had until April 7 to decide whether to impose anti-dumping penalties on Iran following an investigation into whether the country has been selling steel at below market prices.
Eurofer says Iran has increased exports of hot rolled flat steel rapidly to the European Union market and has accused Iran of "trade distorting measures".
The European group also accuses Iran of protectionism for the export duties which the country plans to levy on iron ore to help maximize availability for its domestic steel mills.
"The threat from Iran is new and it's going to be one of the top three issues: China, India, Iran," Karl Tachelet, external relations and trade director at Eurofer, told Reuters last week.
Europe’s fear of Iranian expansion of steel industry contradicts the West’s caution in trading with Iran and the reluctance of Western banks to finance any trade for fear of US penalties.