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How steel companies support local suppliers
The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) hosted a meeting of the Policymaking Council of the first national steel festival and exhibition.
In the meeting, which was attended by the chairman of IMIDRO board of directors and members of the Policymaking Council, the following questions took center stage: cooperation contracts between steelmakers and domestic suppliers in the steel festival; creation by the festival’s secretariat of organized groups of customers and manufacturers involved in the steel chain; encouragement of local steelmakers to issue a list of their needs; policymaking for the festival as far economic issues and quality are concerned; sustainability of supplies in the steel chain; and support for local manufacturers of equipment and steel industry suppliers.
Objectives of steel festival
Chairman of IMIDRO's Board of Directors Khodadad Gharibpour told the meeting that the first national steel festival and exhibition aims to present the capabilities of the steel industry, reflect its needs and explore ways to meet such needs through indigenization and support for domestic production. He added IMIDRO builds on such an approach to support the national event.
Gharibpour, who is also the deputy minister of industry, mines and trade, said that currently a roadmap for the mining sector, a comprehensive steel initiative and IMIDRO’s policies are on the table. “In line with the development of the mining sector, the implementation of these plans requires interaction between industrial groups and the private sector.”
He went on to say, “We’ll hold talks with different government sectors to minimize the problems the mining industry is grappling with.”
He underlined that the establishment gives priority to plans to develop the mining sector in cooperation with the private sector. “Involvement of different groups and associations will help government organizations take sound, foolproof decisions. The more such gatherings are held, the easier for those in charge to make decisions.”
How do steelmakers financially support local equipment manufacturers?
The managing director of Mobarakeh Steel Company (MSC) told the meeting that under current circumstances in which the country is targeted by sweeping sanctions, MSC has decided to remove the existing problems by forming a task force and holding an exhibition. “To that end, we have put together a list of the company’s needs in different areas such as mechanics, chemistry, metallurgy, electrical power, and instrumentations. The list in question will be made public in an announcement.”
Hamidreza Azimian further said, “If an individual or a startup company is set to produce and supply the equipment we need, MSC will sign a contract with them and lend them financial support after they are picked by a jury which brings together local experts and eminent university lecturers. In other words, Mobarakeh Steel Company stands by domestic manufacturers and shares the risks associated with their investment in the projects.”
Azimian expressed hope that the national steel festival can be a precursor to positive steps at a time when sanctions are in place.
Steel festival can open up opportunities for manufacturers, suppliers
Dr. Bahram Sobhani, the chairman of the board of directors at the Iranian Steel Producers Association, said in the meeting, “Since last year we’ve been trying to organize a festival to showcase the achievements and capabilities of the steel industry’s producers and manufacturers, including those involved in technical-engineering activities and part suppliers.”
He further said the steel industry has had a sterling performance when it comes to indigenization, something which helps reduce the country’s dependence on the outside world. “The public has yet to be brought up to speed, though. That’s why we’ve done our best to fill this vacuum by holding the steel festival.”       
Dr. Sobhani said a piece of software has been designed to create a database on which manufacturers can store their achievements.
MP: Parliament ready to cooperate with industry on indigenization
For his part, Hamidreza Fouladgar, who has a seat on the Industries and Mines Committee at the Islamic Consultative Assembly, said that the parliamentary committee stands ready to join hands with industry players to indigenize the steel sector. 
He said in light of the fact that the steel industry is the driving force behind other industries, it would be a good idea to put on display its technological evolution in a museum.
ESCO chief: Local potential should be identified
Mansour Yazdizadeh, the managing director of Esfahan Steel Company (ESCO), said the problems steelmakers are grappling with should be followed through seriously.
He voiced his company's support for the steel festival and said that such a national event was conspicuous by its absence in the country. “There is huge potential in the country which it comes to indigenization, but much of the potential remains unidentified. The steel festival should set its sights on identifying the collective needs of steelmakers and introducing part and equipment manufacturers.”
Leading associations should support steel festival
Later Hamidreza Taherizadeh, a member of Iran’s Steel Association, said the festival should pay full attention to the private sector and provide a broad overview of its challenges such as tax, insurance and exports.
He added that the private sector has fared well when it comes to indigenization.    
Seven indigenization committees formed in Steel Producers Association
Secretary of Iran’s Steel Association Rasoul Khalifeh Soltani, for his part, said that the Chamber of Commerce assessed as many as 200 trade associations last year and named the Iranian Steel Association the country’s second best trade association.
He went on to say that the Steel Association is determined to constantly implement indigenization plans, adding that seven committees have been entrusted with indigenization and that they are taking action in this regard.
Steel Association takes positive step
Mehrdad Akbarian, the chairman of Iron Ore Producers and Exporters Association of Iran, said indigenization is a step in the right direction as far as the steel industry is concerned, adding efforts concentrating on indigenization should fall in line with local development and support for small- and medium-sized businesses.
He further said that the mining sector serves as a springboard for indigenization. “The national steel festival is a giant step forward. God willing, its outlook will be promising.”

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