On 20 March the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) called for comment on the increase in the ‘General’ rate of customs duty on stainless steel flat products, classifiable in tariff subheadings 7219.11.90, 7219.12.90, 7219.13.90, 7219.14.90, 7220.12.90, 7219.21.90, 7219.22.90, 7219.23.90, 7219.24.90, 7219.31.90, 7219.32.90, 7219.33.90, 7219.34.90, 7219.35.90, 7220.20.90 and 7220.90.90, from 5% to 10% ad valorem, which is due by 17 April.
The application was lodged by Columbus Stainless Steel (Pty) Ltd who reasoned that it was the only producer of stainless steel flat products in the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) region and a key supporter of the government’s local beneficiation drive.
Columbus Stainless Steel is a significant employer in the Mpumalanga area and indirectly supports employment in both the upstream and downstream stainless-steel industries.
In recent years, various key international markets have imposed several restrictive trade measures on imports of stainless steel flat products. This, combined with the significant global overcapacity for stainless steel flat products, will result in significant volumes of low-priced products being imported into Sacu.
As a result, Columbus’s continued operations are faced with significant risk that would lead to reduced production volumes and job losses.
Story by: Riaan de Lange