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Steel exporters unrightfully accused of failure to bring export money back home due to misleading statistics
Exports took center stage in a first meeting between Minister of Industries, Mines and Trade Dr. Reza Rahmani and representatives of industrial groups. In a separate meeting with the staff and managers of the ministry, the newly appointed minister said the ministry under his watch gives top priority to consultation with commercial and industrial entities as well as to solutions to export-related problems.     
Secretary of the Iranian Steel Manufacturers Association Rasoul Khalifeh-Soltani presented a report in the meeting and laid out the steelmakers’ demands.
He said a misguided approach to export base value has forced exporters to commit themselves to returning more hard currency to the country than the real value of the goods they’ve exported abroad. “In other words, the units involved in exporting should pledge to bring back the hard currency which is nonexistent. Over the past month, the value of hard currency steelmakers have put up – as part of their foreign exchange commitment – has been $15 million in excess of the real value of their exports. This is due to a misguided export approach adopted by the Customs Administration and is likely to end up in courts. That’s why the task force tasked with looking into the base export value should move to immediately correct the current export rates.”
He further said, “Steel exporters have unjustly come under fire for alleged failure to bring back the hard currency they gain from their exports, but the fact of the matter is that unreliable statistics are to blame. Exporters are judged by wrong and at times biased information. No doubt, steel exporters will use different ways to return the hard currency they collect from exports if they seek to stay longer in global markets.”
Khalifeh-Soltani went on to say production of each ton of steel costs $100-120 in foreign exchange because steelmakers should import equipment and raw material such as coke, coal, ferroalloys, refractories, and graphite electrodes. “The rules governing the foreign exchange commitment ignore the repayment in installments by steelmakers of forex loans and the difference in currencies of countries Iranian steelmakers export their products to and import raw material and equipment from. For instance, Iranian steelmakers are given Euro for their exports to European countries. Iranian exporters have to return the money (Euro) back to NIMA system (a Farsi acronym for the Integrated System for Hard Currency Transactions) even if they want to import goods like graphite electrodes. Instead, steelmakers are given yuan for imports of what they need. This money does nothing to help steelmakers import the items they need.”            
In conclusion, the secretary of the Iranian Steel Manufacturers Association said, “At this juncture when the country needs to maintain its share of export markets and bring in hard currency, rules and regulations should pave the way for production units which have an eye on exports to use the hard currency they gain from exports to buy the raw material they need. Thus, red tape in the form of securing different licenses should be cut so that production and exports are pulled out of harm’s way.”


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