14:14 18.12.2013

Russia to lift restrictions on Ukrainian pipe imports - Ukrainian ministry

Russia has pledged to lift restrictions on steel pipe imports from Ukraine, Industrial Policy Minister Mykhailo Korolenko said at a press conference on Wednesday.

"For pipes, the restrictions will be lifted. For fittings, the anti-dumping investigation will be halted. At least, that is what our Russian friends have promised," he said.

He also pointed to the resumption of operations at the Dnipropetrovsk Pipe Mill (DTZ), which has a major order from its Russian partners.

DTZ, which specializes in manufacture of hot-rolled, electro-welded and cold-worked tubes, resumed operations in December after a seven-month shutdown: it will deliver 12% of output to the domestic market and export 44% each to Europe and the CIS. DTZ is currently being integrated into DMKD, the main supplier of billets to DTZ.

The Customs Union (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan) decided not to prolong duty-free deliveries of Ukrainian pipe under its quota for the second half of 2013, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reported in July. Russia had spoken against extending the agreement regulating deliveries of various types of steel pipe from Ukraine to the Customs Union in April.

Restoration of the liberal trade regime, following the agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, will have a positive economic effect on Ukraine totaling $1.5 billion in 2014, Korolenko said.

The stiffer customs regulation in 2013 led to a $1.4 billion decline in Ukraine's exports, or a 10% year-on-year decrease through the first 10 months of the year. Its impact was felt throughout the economy, but especially by automakers, railcar manufacturers and the pipe sector.

If the current situation were to continue, annual trade between Ukraine and Russia might contract by $4 billion-$4.5 billion, Korolenko said.

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