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China dumping unsafe steel products in Saudi: newspaper

'Okaz' Arabic language daily quoted Raed Al-Ajaji, chairman of the Saudi universal metal coating company (Unicoil). [Image via Shutterstock]

China is dumping huge quantities of unsafe steel products in Saudi Arabia in the absence of effective government control, a Saudi newspaper reported on Monday.

'Okaz' Arabic language daily quoted Raed Al-Ajaji, chairman of the Saudi universal metal coating company Ltd (Unicoil), as saying China exported about 163,000 tonnes of steel to the Gulf Kingdom in the first 10 months of 2014, nearly 70 per cent of domestic demand.

“The problem is not only in these large supplies, which amount to flooding and dumping, but also in the quality of these products. Our tests showed steel sheets imported from China violate international specifications,” he said.

He said those sheets state that their thickness is 0.32 mlm but tests showed they are about 0.26 mlm. The tests, he added, also showed that zinc, which is used for protection against rusting, has a rate of 18-30 ml gm per metre in those sheets while the accepted average international rate is around 90 ml gm.

“The most shocking result in the tests was that the coating of most Chinese steel products supplied to the Saudi market contained very high levels of lead, which is internationally banned.

"The tests showed that the lead levels in some samples were as high as 50 times the level permitted internationally,” he said.

Al-Ajaji estimated steel production in Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, at around 380,000 tonnes per year and consumption at 255,000 tonnes.

“This means there is a surplus of nearly 50 per cent in the local market…but this is no longer the real problem. The main problem now is the massive steel quantities being dumped in the local market, mainly from China. A large part of the steel sheets exported by that country to the Saudi market are bad and adulterated,” he said.
 

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