By Sam Bridge
Emirates Steel CEO Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi bemoans impact of protectionist trade policies on global metals industry
The GCC construction sector continues to offer strong opportunities for growth for the steel sector, according to Emirates Steel CEO Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi.
The likes of Expo 2020 in the UAE, Al Qiddiya, the Red Sea Project and the NEOM project in Saudi Arabia, and the King Hamad Causeway Project in Bahrain are all producing rich opportunities for growth in the metals sector, he said.
However, as other major infrastructure projects are coming to completion, demand is expected to drop, he said in a speech at the Middle East Iron and Steel Conference 2019 in Dubai.
However, the global outlook for the industry is less bright.
Al Remeithi said: “This is an important convention for us to attend, given that we are at a currently febrile moment in the global and regional steel markets.
"Internationally, we have seen the implementation, and now entrenchment, of national protectionist trade policies, which impact iron and steel manufacturers’ capability to share product with their customers and identify markets with capacity for their product.”
He added: “Further, we are seeing slowdown in certain sectors and industries which are impacting companies’ demand for product. The current Chinese real estate sector slowdown and a deceleration of global automotive production are areas of concern for steel manufacturers.
"However, there are areas of as yet unfulfilled demand, most notably in South East Asia, with a range of real estate and construction projects coming online in the near future.”
Dr Matar Al-Neyadi, the Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry, inaugurated the conference and delivered the keynote speech in which he spoke about the role and importance of the iron and steel sector in urban and economic development.
He said: “Heavy industry, including the steel sector, is a vital component and contributor to the UAE’s economic diversification agenda and to our nation’s transition to a knowledge based economy.
“There is no doubt that coordinated actions are needed to address the current market challenges, however, looking further ahead, regional investments in hospitality, healthcare, education and infrastructure are likely to continue on an ever-growing scale. From Expo 2020 to numerous other mega-projects within the region, opportunities exist for companies able to offer unique products, services and solutions that enhance sustainability and incorporate 4IR technologies and innovations,” he added.