The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (Neasa) has filed an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court to stop the implementation by the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) of a 10% import tariff and custom duties on coated flat-rolled products.
Neasa, which represents steel downstream companies, says some companies will be severely prejudiced by this development.
The association explains that should this export tax rate be granted, as well as steel manufacturer ArcelorMittal South Africa’s (AMSA’s) application for 120% safeguard duties on certain long products, as well as for the extension of the safeguard duties of 8% on hot-rolled coil, then hot-rolled coil will carry a total duty of 18%.
Neasa CE Gerhard Papenfus says the attempts by AMSA for more protectionist duties amid the current severe backlogs, caused by its inability to supply the market, are absurd.
He adds that the steel manufacturer still posted a R2.6-billion headline loss for the first half of the year, compared with many modern mills that are profitable at the ruling price for steel. “The duties that desecrated jobs in the downstream sector therefore did not achieve anything to save AMSA.”