Morocco has called on interested stakeholders to provide input and evidence as a safeguard investigation on cold-rolled sheets and plated or coated sheets gets under way.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) committee on safeguards this week said it had been notified of the investigation, which aimed to root out allegations that higher imports of the steel products into the Moroccan market are damaging the domestic production of cold- rolled and coated sheets.
A WTO member could have imports of a product temporarily restricted if the increased imports of the product are found to be “causing, or threatening to cause, serious injury” to domestic production.
According to an application by Maghreb Steel to the Moroccan Ministry in charge of Foreign Trade, the rising imports had resulted in a decline in domestic output of cold-rolled and coated, or clad, plates since the start of 2012.
It claimed that the wave of plate exports to Morocco, owing to a decline in Europe’s steelconsumption and the persistent economic and financial crises facing some European countries, had impacted productivity, capacity, sales and employment levels and had led to declines in the financial performance of the domestic industry.
The application noted that the volume of imports of cold-rolled sheet jumped 100% from 2011 to 2012 and 89% between 2012 and 2013.
Further, imports of coated or clad plates increased 77% between 2011 and 2012.
During the first two months of 2014, 28 146 t of cold-rolled and coated, or clad, sheets were imported into Morocco – a 62% increase on the quantities imported during the same period of 2013.
The Moroccan Ministry in charge of Foreign Trade invited importers, exporters and other interested parties to present evidence and views and respond to the presentations of other parties.