In a significant move reflecting the challenges posed by an influx of imported steel, Jefferson De Paula, the president of ArcelorMittal's Brazilian division, recently announced the suspension of operations at the Resende plant. This facility, situated in the state of Rio de Janeiro, will see approximately 400 workers granted collective vacations.
De Paula emphasized the necessity of technical stoppages in various units across the country, outlining these measures as proactive steps to conduct maintenance operations. The decision stems from a strategic response to the dwindling demand in the domestic market, a consequence, he believes, of an overwhelming surge in imported products, particularly from China and at prices constituting dumping practices.
Expressing concerns over an imminent risk of dismissals, De Paula underscored the potential impact of the current scenario on the country's economic growth. "Brazil was left unprotected in the face of the world overcapacity of the steel industry," he remarked. In a bid to address the challenges, the Brazilian steel industry, represented by ArcelorMittal, has formally requested authorities to impose a 25 percent import tariff on steel products as a temporary relief measure.
While analysts speculate on the federal government's apprehension regarding the unfolding situation, no official announcement has been made thus far. Import statistics reveal a stark contrast between the first ten months of 2023 and the same period in 2022, with Brazil witnessing a surge in steel product imports from 1.785 million metric tons to 3.105 million metric tons, raising concerns about the sustainability of the domestic steel industry. The situation remains dynamic, with stakeholders eagerly awaiting further developments and potential government interventions.
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