Turkey launches dumping probe against Saudi Arabia

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The Turkish Trade Ministry has opened a dumping investigation against Saudi Arabia upon a complaint by the country’s leading petrochemical company about low-density polyethylene imports from the Gulf country.

Azerbaijani energy giant Socar owns 51 percent of Petkim’s shares listed on the Istanbul Stock Exchange.

The investigation has been opened on grounds that Petkim’s production, sales, sale price per unit, product profitability and production capacity utilization rate figures have fallen dramatically in 2019 compared to previous years, the ministry said in a statement.

“Moreover, deterioration in some economic indicators, including domestic production volume [of low-density polyethylene], domestic unit sale price and capacity utilization rate, was recorded in the first six months of 2020 compared to the first six months of 2019,” it said.

The investigation could conclude in up to 18 months, ministry sources told daily Hürriyet.

But precautionary measures could be taken in 60 days if they decide that irrecoverable damages will occur on Petkim’s balances and domestic production because of Saudi Arabia’s unfairly low export prices.

Saudi Arabia is Turkey’s top source country for low-density polyethylene imports.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s supermarket chain Al-Othaim Markets has announced that it will stop selling Turkish products over foreign policy disputes between the two countries.

The Saudi chain, one of the largest in the Middle East, operates 143 stores in Saudi Arabia and 31 stores in Egypt.

Many Turkish companies have recently complained about an unofficial boycott imposed by the Saudi authorities on Turkish goods and services.

On Oct. 10, the top Turkish business associations called on Saudi authorities to take concrete initiatives to resolve problems in trade and economic relations.

“It is stated that many Saudi companies, which supply goods from Turkish companies, are forced to sign a letter of commitment not to import goods from Turkey,” a statement by the associations said.

The statement also drew attention to the global logistics companies’ warnings to their customers about the obstacles that Turkish companies face in Saudi Arabia, that they should be prepared for long waiting times at Saudi customs for goods arriving from Turkey and that imports from Turkey might even be blocked.

“Finally, it has been a massive disappointment for the businesspeople of both countries when Council of Saudi Chambers President Mr. Ajlan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Ajlan tweeted on Oct. 3, 2020, that ‘it is the duty of all Saudi nationals to boycott Turkish products,’” it said.

Stressing that any official or unofficial initiative to block bilateral trade will have negative repercussions on trade relations and be detrimental to economies and people of both countries, the statement also said, “We deeply regret the discriminatory treatment that our companies face in Saudi Arabia.”

The Council of Saudi Chambers, a non-governmental group of private sector business officials, also recently called for a boycott of Turkish products.

In the second quarter, Turkey was Saudi Arabia’s 12th trade partner by total import value.

The latest data shows Saudi imports from Turkey were worth nearly $185 million in July, up from roughly $180 million in June.

Hurriyet Daily News

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