1044 GMT January 20, 2019
According to spglobal.com, Mohsen Parvan said for the full year to March 2019, Iran's steel exports may equal last year's record of over nine million tons, as links with existing steel trade partners, particularly in the Middle East, Russia, China and the EU, have largely remained in place.
"Iran has so far exported six million tons of steel since March 21, 2018, similar to the previous year. At least half is semi-finished products such as billet and slab," Parvan said in an interview in London last week.
Billet steel is being supplied to Oman for rerolling, with other customers in Qatar, Iraq, the UAE, CIS nations including Ukraine and Kazakhstan and small amounts being sold into the EU, specifically Germany, Spain and Italy, he said.
Starting August 6, 2018, the US reimposed secondary sanctions on trade to and from Iran in steel and aluminum products, gold and precious metals, graphite and coal, giving non-US persons 90 days in which to wind down their steel/metal trade activities with the country or risk US enforcement action.
Other sectors of Iran's economy, including oil, energy and shipping, were affected from November, 2018.
The European Parliament passed a blocking action in early August protecting EU citizens and governments from the impact of the US secondary sanctions.
The EU and other governments, including the UK, Germany, France, Russia and China — which remain committed to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which the US withdrew last May — could thus take steps to protect their countries' businesses and trade with Iran, Sue Millar, London-based partner in international law firm Stephenson Harwood said at the time.
A significant weakening of the rial since the US announced it was reimposing sanctions means Iran's steel remains competitive on world markets. This, sources say, has helped boost Iranian exports of finished, higher-value added products in recent months.
The latest figures from the Iranian Steel Producers' Association (ISPA) show exports totaled 5.273 million tons of steel products during March 21-November 21, 2018 including 1.92 million tons of finished products, up 104 percent year-on-year, and 3.335 million tons of semi-finished products, down 21 percent, compared with around 5.165 million tons in the year-ago period, which included 940,000 tons of finished and 4.225 million tons of semi-finished products.