Maruf BUZCUGIL / Huseyin GOKCE
Ankara Association of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Metal Exporters (ADDMİB) Vice Chairman and Emek Boru AŞ Board Chairman Şerafettin Ceceli said exports increased to 1.7 billion dollars last year. Stating that he broke an export record in 2021 due to rising commodity prices, Şerafettin Ceceli said there was no real increase in quantity. Expressing that EU quotas and anti-dumping investigations are blocking their path, Ceceli said, “Anti-dumping investigations stand on exports like the sword of Damocles.” Expressing that the work undertaken to prevent imports of flat products has made the already highly profitable domestic producer more profitable, Ceceli said the increase in energy costs is not acceptable.
Responding to questions from WORLD, Şerafettin Ceceli noted that despite the 19% increase in the sector’s total export earnings, there was almost no change in quantity. Expressing that income increases according to the price of raw materials, Ceceli pointed out that there is a decrease in quantity in certain product groups, and that the quotas applied by Europe also have an effect on this. Ceceli, in aluminum exports, especially to the United States, last year; He pointed out that there had been an increase in value of 82% and in quantity of more than 30%.
“Even the countries we do not export to open anti-dumping investigations”
Ceceli, who said similar problems are seen all over the world in terms of rolling products, said: “There is a passion for anti-dumping investigations against Turkey, even in countries where we do not export. Because our exporters are efficient in the countries they enter.
Şerfettin Ceceli said that even if the investigations are concluded in favor of the company or there is an additional tax close to zero, exports become difficult due to the discomfort of customers on the other side, and pointed out that even in the event of a tax, it is a matter of debate who will pay and “the anti-dumping investigation resembles the sword of Damocles on exports.”
Expressing that the domestic market price may sometimes remain higher than the export price due to forward sales, Ceceli said, “They say that if the other party’s domestic market price is higher than the export, this is unfair state support. In doing so, they disregard the term. However, due to the ECSC agreements, the State does not have a single penny of incentive for steel investments. But they undermine trade with non-tariff barriers like this,” he said.
Recalling that an investigation was launched about 3 years ago in order to block imports of flat products, Ceceli said, “I think it looks like a study to make the already very profitable domestic producers much more profitable. We also told the ministry. These companies invest in value-added products, where they can make more money, instead of investing in increasing capacity. The number of producers in our country is already limited and import is mandatory depending on their capacity. Despite this, we are also criticized for importing products that are not available in our country.
The freight may be more expensive than the goods in the container
Ceceli, who said no one was affected by the freight price in the last period, said: “During the pandemic, the price increased as the transport time got longer. Although the main problem has now disappeared, the high prices persist. In our industry, container transportation may be small, but it is more expensive than goods in freight for goods that need to be transported by container and are heavy but light.
Saying that rising energy costs are not acceptable, Ceceli said, “Our high-consuming members are talking about increases in natural gas up to 6 times a year. There was an increase of up to 125% in electricity. Although these increase the cost, we cannot increase the sale price. There is an increase which the manufacturer cannot pass on to the price, but which he must bear on his back. We carry a difference that is really hard to tolerate.
Difficult to sell domestically, easier to export
Expressing that the most important reason for the increase in exports is the difference between PPI and CPI, Ceceli said, “You produce the goods, when you try to sell them domestically, you sell them to loss. You have the option to set the export price based on the current cost. It’s so hard inside that it’s hard to sell, hard to get money. People direct their wealth to export. In this way, foreign currency inflows are provided, numbers increase, businesses become profitable.
Ceceli pointed out that foreigners follow Turkey very well in product groups where TL depreciation should be reflected in price, and said, “There is even devaluation in your country.
“Our balance sheet is profitable, but activity has contracted”
Şerafettin Ceceli, who also made assessments on his own business, said: “We have a production of metal nails. The profit on the balance sheet is very good, the profit is high, but the company is in a loss, it has lost its capital. We were unable to replace what we sold due to both currency movement and commodity price movement. When you look at the balance sheet, there is profit, but the business has actually shrunk. This is unfortunately true. You appear to be profitable because you are selling the stock at the current price. We had to switch to accounting for inflation, I don’t understand why it was postponed. The balance sheet becomes a more realistic balance sheet. In Turkey, people can’t understand. The rules change as the game is played. The accounting terms for inflation were set 15 years ago. Why are we changing his rule? This is something that happens very often. It has become a company that really bothers people and takes away the enthusiasm for doing business in Turkey.