The United Arab Emirates' Al Ghurair Iron & Steel LLC is doubling its steel production to meet growing demand in the Gulf and resist dumping by countries such as China and India, a senior company official said on Monday.
The company, an 80:20 venture between Dubai's Al Ghurair group and Japan's Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp, expects to produce 400,000 tonnes of galvanised steel annually by the end of this year, up from 200,000 a few months ago, chief executive Abu Bucker Husain told reporters.
Husain said that despite an economic slowdown in the region due to low oil prices, steel demand was continuing to grow because of preparations for events including the 2020 Dubai Expo and the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament in Qatar.
About 55 percent of the company's production is exported, mainly to other Gulf markets and the wider Middle East and North Africa region. The remainder is sold within the UAE.
But Husain complained that his company and other UAE producers were struggling against dumping by producers in countries including China, India and Turkey. Al Ghurair Iron & Steel is increasing its output partly to avoid losing market share to the dumping, he said.
"A lot more can be done to stop this dumping, which puts us domestic producers at a huge disadvantage," he said. "When we export to other countries we pay duty, so it is not fair and we need a level playing field."
Some other UAE producers have made similar complaints. Last year Emirates Steel, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi industrial group Senaat, said inflows of Chinese and Turkish steel were damaging the UAE market.
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The company urged the government to adopt anti-dumping duties and recommended that a uniform standard should be introduced for steel to fend off low-quality Chinese imports.
Husain said on Monday that the UAE government had taken some action to curb dumping, which he declined to describe, and continued to look into the matter. Officials at the economy ministry were not available to comment on the subject.
Including the recent expansion, Al Ghurair Iron & Steel has invested $280 million in its steel plant, which began operating in 2009. Current turnover is around 750 million dirhams ($204 million),