Eva Fitriani, Jakarta – The European Commission has terminated an anti-dumping probe into hot-rolled stainless steel from Indonesia after the European steel lobby withdrew their complaints, the Indonesian Trade Ministry said on Tuesday.
The decision ensures access to a key market for Indonesia's steel industry, which has ramped up its production capacity in the past few years.
"Indonesia welcomes the European Union's decision to cancel the investigation because from the start we believed that Indonesian products always compete fairly in the European market," Trade Minister Agus Suparmanto said in a statement.
"We will encourage the Indonesian industry to take advantage of this cancellation by improving the export performance of [hot rolled stainless steel] products to the European Union and proactively maintaining export access," Agus said.
Indonesia began exporting the hot-rolled stainless steel to the EU in 2018, raking in a total of $99.3 million from the shipments that year. The export increased a little to $100.5 million in 2019 when the European Union Steel Industry Association (Eurofer) complained about Indonesia's alleged dumping practice.
The lobby group accused Indonesia of providing incentives to producers through policies that prohibit or restrict mineral and metal scrap exports, reducing Indonesia's raw materials' price.
The European opened investigation on Indonesian steels in October last year.
Among the policies in contention was Indonesia's decision to stop exporting ores containing more than 1.7 nickel, a critical ingredient for making steel. In Indonesian defense, Didi Sumedi, the director-general of foreign trade at the Trade Ministry, said the provision was not specifically directed to benefit the Indonesian stainless steel industry.
"These provisions are clearly intended to realize sustainable management of Indonesia's mineral resources, given the non-renewable nature of the raw material, and to encourage the growth of value-added industrial investment in Indonesia," Didi said on Tuesday.
Eurofer unexpectedly withdrew their complaint in September, forcing the Commission to stop their investigation.
"We firmly believe that neither Eurofer nor the European Commission found any subsidy element in their overall claims. Therefore Eurofer withdrew the complaint," Pradnyawati, the director of trade security at the Trade Ministry, said in the statement.
Hot-rolled stainless steel, widely used in construction, has become an important commodity among Indonesia's exports. The country shipped $2.6 billion worth of hot-rolled stainless steel worldwide, up 30 percent from $2 billion a year earlier, data from the Central Statistics Agency showed. In 2017, in Indonesia, the hot-rolled stainless steel export value only reached $483 million.