Parliament is still waiting for a response from Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies on why no one from his department is being represented on the recently established steel price committee.
At the end of June, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel announced the members of the committee, which is tasked with investigating what effects import tariffs have on the steel industry.
Members include Johan Nel, of the South African Iron and Steel Institute, Paolo Trinchero of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction, Tafadzwa Chibanguza of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation, and National Employers’ Association CEO Gerhard Papenfus. The CFO of ArcelorMittal South Africa Dean Subramanian was also appointed.
But questions have been raised about the constitution and membership of the committee. Most of the steel industry is regulated by the department of trade and industry (dti), yet the department has no representation on the committee.
Joan Fubbs, chairperson of parliament’s trade and industry committee said on Tuesday that she was still waiting for a response as to why the department of trade and industry is not represented. “We were led to believe that the dti would serve on the (steel) committee,” she added.
The establishment of such a committee to look into the effect primary steel tariffs have on downstream users, was initially flagged by Davies. In August last year, he approved a 10% ad valorem duty on certain imported steel products, which was entering South Africa free of duty.
The duty agreement hinged on an agreement on a pricing model including ArcelorMittal and downstream steel users that would ensure the viability of the steel sector.
The operations of the steel committee falls under the auspices of the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac), which oversees tariffs and import and export controls, which in turn resorts under Patel. But although Itac falls within the department of economic development, most of the steel industry are regulated by trade and industry.