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CEO, Metinvest Holding

Yuriy Ryzhenkov

Steel producers need further reduction of trade barriers with key trading partners

Ukraine needs to focus its efforts on maintaining the production potential of its metals and mining complex. To be competitive in the current environment, Ukrainian steelmakers have to reduce their production costs. To do that, the sector needs government support. Above all, this relates to resolving logistics issues. Moreover, the cost of production is significantly affected by the expensive electricity and gas, as well as high iron ore extraction rents.

Involvement during Russia’s war against Ukraine

Under Yuriy’s management, Metinvest is playing a direct role in the war effort, delivering steel for 1,500 bulletproof vests a week for Ukraine’s Armed Forces. It is also importing military equipment, such as drones, night vision headsets and helmets. Yuriy is an ambassador of the ‘Do It Together’ charitable foundation and the ‘Saving Lives’ project, set up to provide humanitarian aid.

Given that Ukraine is a key supplier of steel products for some regions, how will the reduction of its exports affect global supply chains?

Ukraine remains one of the largest suppliers of metal products to European markets, although the country’s export opportunities are extremely limited because of logistics issues. Over the first half of the year, Ukraine halved its exports of metals. To compensate for the loss of Ukrainian steel, EU countries have increased steel imports from Brazil.

In early May 2022, the US announced the suspension of import duties on Ukrainian steel and steel products for one year. How do you assess the potential benefits of such liberalisation?

We welcome the US initiative to remove the special duty of 25% on supplies of rolled steel from Ukraine. At the same time, we hope that the US will remove other trade barriers, particularly the anti-dumping duty applied to Ukrainian metals.