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Facilitation of exports by government can help tackle problems sanctions create


The support the governments lends to the facilitation of exports would help the country solve the problems triggered by sanctions, says the Chief Marketing Officer at Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC).
Here is what else Mahmoud Akbari had to say about exports and the role the government plays in developing them: 
Expansion of exports is globally viewed as one key factor in the materialization of sustainable growth. Development of exports, coupled with constant presence in global markets, which pushes up demand in national economies, helps unlock the untapped potential. It also sets the stage for higher production capacity by bringing in foreign currency and subsequently transferring technical knowhow, equipment and machinery into the country. In economies as such, enterprises can focus on the relative advantages and targeted allocation of resources to be able to raise the scale of production and capabilities, and boost their competitiveness by cutting the cost price, thus benefit the national economy as a whole.
Since its launch in 1992, Mobarakeh Steel Company, whose nominal capacity stood at 2.4 million tons initially, made attention to exports an integral part of its strategic approach. Twenty-six years on, it has maximally met domestic need and handled its expansion projects through its constant, effective presence in target export markets which has enabled the giant steelmaker to secure the foreign currency it needs for such projects. Thanks to the inflow of hard currency, the company has managed to purchase equipment and technology as well as factors of production such as electrodes and ferroalloys, to make investments in expansion projects and repay the finances it has received. The company has also managed to successfully run expansion projects in a systematic manner. MSC, which has posted 330 percent growth in production capacity and raised its production to 10.3 million tons, plays a leading role in the development and realization of national steel production potential, in economic and industrial growth, and in the thriving of downstream industries.                     
Mobarakeh Steel Company has made tremendous achievements such as registering an all-time high in steel production in the Middle East and North Africa region, accounting for five percent of GDP in the industry sector, creating jobs, both direct and indirect, for more than 350,000 people, and setting a target of a 25-million-ton steel production as part of its objectives envisioned in the 2025 Outlook Plan.
Thanks to MSC, which accounts for over half of steel production in the country and on average exports 1.5 million tons of products per year, Iran’s steel industry has made a name for itself in global markets, especially in Europe, the US, East Asia and the Middle East. The MSC brand has now a familiar ring to it worldwide in that steel purchasers around the world view Mobarakeh Steel Company as a world-class steelmaker and find the quality of its products praiseworthy.
Over the years Mobarakeh Steel has maintained the outstanding quality and quantity of its products and met the better part of domestic needs in the thick of fierce competition and in the face of international sanctions. It came as the company proceeded with its strong presence in global markets. In the 12 months to late March 2014, MSC exported about 1 million tons of its products to overseas markets. This trend persisted in the following five years: 1.5 million tons in the year to late March 2015, 1.8 million tons one year later, 1.5 million tons in the year which ended on March 20, 2017, 1.3 million tons one year later, and about 700,000 tons in the first half of this year (March 21 – September 22, 2018). MSC products got into major markets in Europe, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and countries on the southern rim of the Persian Gulf. All in all, Mobarakeh Steel Company has shipped 1.1 million tons of slabs, 5 million tons of hot-rolled products, 350,000 tons of cold-rolled products and about 100,000 tons of galvanized steel to as many as 40 countries over the past five years.   
Without a doubt, the company owes the achievements it has made in global markets to top quality of its products, compliance with international standards, special attention it has devoted to the principles of customer orientation, and production based on the needs of consumers, over 60 percent of whom are the end users and producers in the downstream sector.
The country’s performance in the sanctions era has shown that development of exports is one effective way to set off an economic boom in the production sector. At a time when local producers are faced with sluggish demand triggered by the recession gripping certain economic sectors and when the steel sector’s production capacity has been cut in half, Mobarakeh Steel Company has managed to blunt the adverse effects of economic hardships by building on the export edge it holds.
That’s why government policies aimed at supporting and facilitating exports can turn out to be an economic bonanza for domestic production and should be given top priority now that the country’s steel demand is declining owing to unjust, unilateral sanctions and prolonged recession in the construction sector.
The fact of the matter is that local producers should get involved in exports-driven activities in a competitive atmosphere in which major players enjoy the following advantages: long-term, low-interest loans; easily accessible banking interactions; proper logistical and transport infrastructure; export prizes; and the support by their respective governments. By comparison, Iranian producers are deprived of a number of such advantages, and to add insult to injury, they are grappling with infrastructural challenges such as the lack of easily accessible, smooth shipping lines, limitations associated with loading and unloading in port cities, lack of stability in the guidelines and directives communicated by government agencies, export restrictions which have nothing to do with expert work, soaring customs-related costs, and a lack of support when it comes to international trade to remove the problems standing in the way of exporters.      
At this trying time, the government is expected to redouble its efforts to support exports and pave the way for domestic producers to set their sights on thriving markets in the region and beyond by adopting a more active economic diplomacy, signing trade agreements and joining regional trade pacts in a bid to facilitate trade exchanges between Iran and other countries, and setting the stage for the national currency to be used in financial transactions.
To that end, guilds and related groups – which are entrusted with making coordination between tradesmen and industrialists and establishing interactions with the government so that business affairs could be handled smoothly – are expected to reverse the previous trend which put imports on the front burner and bring exports into a sharp focus. For its part, the private sector is expected to stand by the government, rethink its past approaches and help ease concerns which put the development of exports and industrial growth in harm’s way.


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