A European Union call for an investigation into restrictions imposed by Indonesia on the export of raw materials necessary for the production of stainless steel, notably nickel ore and iron ore has been backed by the European Steel Association (Eurofer).
On 14 January the EU asked the World Trade Organization to establish a panel to review the legality of the Indonesian regulations, which were first the subject of formal complaint in November 2019.
Eurofer says Indonesia has been engaging in ‘an aggressive expansion of its nickel processing and stainless steel sectors’. A press statement says: ‘This began in 2014 with Indonesia banning the exports of nickel-bearing raw materials to ensure its nascent domestic stainless production had access to below-market price inputs’.
Nickel is a key component in the production of stainless steels, 55% of which contain the metal because it improves corrosion resistance and improves the alloy’s properties. It is alleged that Indonesia’s ‘hoarding’ of this material inflates the competitiveness of its domestic stainless steel industry.
‘Taking action at the WTO is fundamental to prevent third countries’ – such as Indonesia – aggressive and illegal sectoral industrial policies undermining global trade and resulting in artificial cost distortions and overcapacities,’ says Eurofer.
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