Despite the U.S. tariffs on steel, exports in the sector grew by 26.7 percent to $8.4 billion in the first seven months of this year compared to $6.6 billion in the same period of 2017. In this period, the highest increase in steel sector exports was recorded to Italy, while the biggest decrease was experienced in the U.S. market.
According to Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM) data, exports to the European Union led the way reaching $3.6 billion, an increase of 62.9 percent compared to last year.
Exports of $1.4 billion to Middle Eastern countries in this period came second on the list, an increase of 9.9 percent annually.
Meanwhile, exports to African countries surged by 33.6 percent to $1 billion. Thus, the steel exports to the EU, Middle Eastern and African countries exceeded $1 billion in the first seven months of the year.
In terms of quantity, the steel sector realized the highest exports in seven months of the year to Italy with $659.9 million, followed by the U.S. with $552.1 million, Spain with $488.8 million, Israel with $443.3 million, Romania with $426.2 million, and Germany with $399.6 million.
In the January-July period this year, steel exports experienced the highest increase to Italy with $351.8 million compared to the same period in 2017. The greatest decline in that period, on the other hand, was to the United States, at $250.4 million.
In the same period, the other countries with the highest increase in exports in quantity were to Spain with $208.8 million, Belgium with $185.9 million and Romania with $165.5 million. The countries with the highest decrease after the U.S. were Singapore with $104.2 million, Turkmenistan with $90.1 million and Iraq with $64.8 million.
Evaluating the sector's performance in a statement to Anadolu Agency (AA), Adnan Aslan, chairman of the Turkish Steel Exporters Association (ÇİB), said that Turkey's steel exports reached 11.1 million tons in the January-July period of this year with an increase of 2.4 percent in quantity compared to the same period of the previous year.
The value-based exports of the sector also rose by 26.7 percent to 8.4 billion, Aslan said. "Though the increasing tendency in protectionism in the world prevents the export of our products from reaching the desired levels, the Turkish steel sector continues to be preferred worldwide with its high quality and competitive prices," he added.
Aslan shared his views on the steel industry's exports to the U.S., stressing that the Section 232 measure affected the industry's steel exports to the U.S. in a negative way, while exports to the U.S. fell both in value and in quantity over the past seven months.
Aslan also recalled that in the first seven months of this year, steel exports to the U.S. dropped by 44.6 percent compared to the same period of the previous year to 765,000 tons, while value-based exports fell by 31.2 percent to $552 million. "We intend to concentrate on Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Central and South America regions, where we hold a relatively lower share in their imports, and further increase our exports in these markets," he added.
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