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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Top Steel Firms: Ax Export Duty

Top metals producers have asked the government to abolish the 5 percent steel export duty to protect the local market, company officials said Tuesday.

Over the past several years, metals companies have suffered from a decline in steel prices caused by overproduction. They received a further blow this month when the United States introduced duties of up to 30 percent on imports from a number of countries, including Russia.

The U.S. move has reduced average profit margins on exports from 20 percent to 11 percent, Viktor Rashnikov, general director of the Magnitogorsk Metals Plant, told a news conference. It has also caused an oversupply in the Russian market, depressing prices by 20 percent to 30 percent, Severstal general director Alexei Mordashov said.

Magnitogorsk, Severstal and two other companies that together account for 75 percent of Russian metal production have asked for help from Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin.

"We are asking the government to abolish the export duties and deploy political efforts in talks with the United States to exclude Russia from the list of countries accused of dumping," Mordashov said.

Mordashov said that Russia exports just 17 percent of its steel to the United States but there has already been a domino effect, including protectionist measures introduced by other countries.

Rashnikov has called on the government to protect its market against imports from Ukraine and Kazakhstan, which account for almost 50 percent of the Russian galvanized steel market.