ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) has requested the International Trade Administration Commission for safeguards on imports of its structural steel products due to poor demand and growing steel imports.
The company said the safeguards would not only apply to the company, but to the entire local steel industry.
AMSA spokesperson said that “ArcelorMittal South Africa, in collaboration with Evraz Highveld Steel, has applied for safeguards on structural steel products produced in the Highveld Mill. A safeguard application simply presents the facts and, based on those facts, ITAC will decide whether to grant a safeguard and if so, at what level it should be placed.”
The request comes during times of global oversupply and record export volumes by countries that have excess steel capacity.
Responding to the submission, ITAC sent a written reply to the company confirming it had initiated an investigation for remedial action in the form of a safeguard measure for structural steel. It said in the letter that all countries that might be impacted by the safeguard had been contacted and invited to submit written clarifications on the matter.
On 30 June 2020, the National Employers Association of South Africa (NEASA), which represents the interests of employers across all industries, published a note regarding AMSA’s application to the International Trade Administration Commission for a 120% safeguard duty on certain long products.
AMSA also applied to re-introduce safeguard duties on hot-rolled coil, which will impact directly on all flat products utilised by the Steel Industry; and it has also applied for duties to be imposed on nine new tariff codes for coated products which they admittedly don’t produce, said.
AMSA’s statement that these protectionist duties are “… in place to protect the entire South African steel industry …” flies in the face of previous- and a recent survey by NEASA, that 95% of the steel companies in South Africa are in favour of scrapping all duties.