ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) on July 1 said it had, in collaboration with Evraz Highveld Steel, applied for safeguards on structural steel products produced at the Highveld Structural Mill, being the only producer of these products in the country.
AMSA emphasised that it haD not approached the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) to ask for safeguards on long steel products in general.
Structural steel products represent only 5% of the long steel products market in South Africa, it noted.
AMSA's comments followed the issue of a statement by the National Employers Association of South Africa (Neasa). AMSA said Neasa's statement was "inaccurate and misleading", pointing out that the joint application had not been for a 120% safeguard duty.
"In fact, the application does not propose any level for the safeguard duty. A safeguard application presents the facts and, based on those facts and after a comprehensive investigation, Itac will decide whether to grant a safeguard and, if so, at what level it should be placed," the steel producer said.
"AMSA remains convinced that safeguards are an essential part of the suite of protection measures that are in place to protect the entire South African steel industry from imports," it added.
It said the global oversupply of steel had been exacerbated by a significant drop in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic and that protectionist measures taken by other regions, for example the US and European Union, had contributed to more steel being transported over long distances.
This rationale is outlined in detail in Itac’s initiation of the investigation related to the safeguard application, it said.