Indonesia has bigger opportunity to export more steel products to the Middle East after countries in the area recently agreed to lift safeguard duty on “Made in Indonesia” steel products.
The GCC countries are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
The decision to lift the safeguard duty was made after a 19-month investigation by the GCC’s Bureau of Technical Secretariat for Anti Injurious Practices in International Trade. The bureau stated the Indonesian steel products must be exempted from safeguard duty.
Trade Minister Muhammad Lutfi said the exemption would give Indonesia opportunity to boost export to the Gulf countries. “The government welcomes the [GCC] decision to exempt safeguard duty. This widens the chance for Indonesia’s steel products to enter the Gulf market,” he said in an official statement on May 20, 2021.
Trade Ministry acting director general of foreign trade, Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana, said the government and the business players always work hard to deal with every issue that potentially hampers Indonesia’s access to export market.
“The fact that Indonesia [steel product] is exempted from safeguard duty is the result of the seriousness of the government and business players in defending our national interest,” Wisnu said.
The GCC investigation began with examinations on nine imported steel products, which are flat hot rolled coils and sheets; cold rolled flat steel coils and sheets; steel with metallic layer; steel with organic layer; reinforced steel bars and wire rod; circular, square, and rectangular sticks and rod, sections; angles and shapes; as well as welded and seamless pipes and tubes.
Responding to the investigation, the Indonesian trade ministry told domestic steel producers to be cooperative to support the investigation process.
In addition, Trade Ministry director of trade safeguard, Pradnyawati, said the government has defended national interests during the investigation process by conveying the country’s position.
The defense statement was conveyed from early in the investigation process, preliminary finding, public audience and changes in product coverage.
Meanwhile, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) stated that the total value of steel exports to GCC countries in 2020 reached US$73.4 million.
Indonesia’s export declined in January-March 2021 to $10.5 million, compared to $20.7 million in the same period of 2020. “The exemption of Indonesian steel products from safeguard duty will help boost exports in the economic recovery period,” Pradnyawati said.
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