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US scrap lobby concern over Russian restrictions

Russia – The American Scrap Coalition has written to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk in response to a move by the Russian government that is expected to inhibit the flow of steel scrap from the country. The coalition argues that the recent measures ‘could deny the United States the benefits of commitments Russia has made in connection with its accession to the WTO’.

Formerly a major exporter of steel scrap, Russia instituted an export tax combined with strict administrative policies in 2007 that resulted in a sharp decline in international scrap trade. However, upon joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), Russia agreed to substantially reduce tariffs on exported steel scrap.

But on February 13, Russia adopted a customs regulation which permits the export of scrap in the country’s far eastern federal district only through the far northern port of Magadan – leaving the ports of Vladivostok and Nakhodka, where 90% of Russia’s scrap exports are handled in the region, completely out of the equation.

The coalition warns: ‘The exclusion of Vladivostok, Nakhodka and St Petersburg from the list of permissible shipping points represents a clear effort by Russia to erect yet more administrative barriers to exports of steel scrap.’

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