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PRESS RELEASE
STEEL INDUSTRY: MORE DUTIES APPROVED TO PROTECT AMSA

11 August 2020

Late last week, Government approved an extended 8% safeguard duty on hot rolled coil, bringing the total duty payable on this product to 18%.

The purpose of safeguard duties is to temporarily protect a primary steel producer, which is not competitive, to give it time to get its house in order. According to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, safeguard duties may therefore only apply for a period of three years. The previous safeguard duties for this product expired on 10 August 2020. During this period AMSA has done nothing to enable them to supply competitively priced raw material to the steel downstream. That, however, did not deter the Government from extending this duty for yet another year.

This decision by Government is a blatant move that defies all rules and logic. The motive behind this decision is questionable. Why continue to protect AMSA – this loss-making monopoly; a liability to the steel downstream and the country? Can it be a matter of Government stopping at nothing to lay their hands on even more funds; after they drained SOE’s, they are now targeting the private sector to extract more money?

These duties are just another dose of the slow poison administered to the steel industry. The consequence will simply be an acceleration of its gradual decline, further contributing to de-industrialisation with its nasty tentacles: unemployment and poverty.

A few days ago, NEASA launched an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court to stop Government from implementing yet another set of duties on coated products. This matter is set down for 18 August 2020.

This is a press release by Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).

For more information:
NEASA Media Department
media@neasa.co.za

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