The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) welcomes the decision by the Group of 20 (G20) leaders to address excess global steel capacity.
Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba on Tuesday said the decision, announced at the G20 leaders’ summit in Hangzhou, China, on Monday, was very important not only for domestic steel producers, but also for the international market.
He said it was because of the dumping of cheap, often subsidised steel, mostly from China, that affected stakeholders in South Africa approached government last year with a request for the imposition of import tariffs for steel.
The tariffs, subsequently approved by the International Trade and Administration Commission of South Africa, have been very unpopular in certain quarters, especially among downstream steel users.
“The decision by the G20 leaders to form a global forum that will seek a solution to this challenge and report to the next G20 summit, next year, is a most welcome development. The international steel glut has resulted in massive job losses in the sector around the world and the unavoidable imposition of punitive tariffs by most countries with steel production capacity.
“We can only hope that in the months and years to come excess steel capacity will decline from its current levels of 700-million tonnes and eventually be eradicated.
“More importantly, we hope the current practice of subsidising steel production through interest-free loans, which makes it possible for Chinese producers to undercut their global competitors, will also give way to fair international competition,” said Nyatsumba.