The Steel Tube Export Association of South Africa’s drive to open up more export markets for its members will receive a major boost when it participates in an outward selling mission (OSM) to Australia from September 1 to 7.
The association’s CEO Keitumetse Moumakoe will be one of 25 businesspersons travelling to Perth for the OSM.
The ISM, which is organised and funded by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC), will coincide with the yearly Africa Down Under international conference and trade exhibition, where South African companies will also showcase their manufactured products and services.
“Our participation in the mission to Australia is part of our concerted efforts to seek competitive export markets for the manufacturers of the country’s steel tubes and pipes,” Moumakoe says, adding that the association’s main objective is to gather information on which projects in the pipeline in Australia financiers are willing or planning to invest in.
This, he says, will assist the association in determining how South African companies can explore opportunities to participate in various stages of the projects by exporting their products and expertise to Australia.
The association is determined to resuscitate the Australian market, which used to be one of the traditional markets for the South African steel and tube industry, Moumakoe said.
“There are a lot of mining activities in Australia and it used to be traditional market for our exports,” he says, adding that South Africa gradually lost that market to countries like China and Taiwan over the years owing to the country’s products not being competitive enough in the export market. The high cost of the input material reduced South Africa’s competitiveness.
However, the association has embarked on a drive to resuscitate the Australian market to cope with the US’s Section 232 regulation which negatively impacts South Africa’s exports.
“We have to diversify our markets and redirect our products to Europe and Asia,” Moumakoe stated.
The association is also working closely with the DTIC to facilitate market access for steel tube manufacturers in various African countries for their products and services.
“The Trade Invest Africa unit of the DTIC is assisting us considerably in tapping into the African markets and unlocking opportunities by dealing with challenges related to non-tariff barriers,” Moumakoe added.
“We are also working with the department on various trade missions and national pavilions. The South African foreign economic representatives located in various countries across the continent are also collaborating with us in our efforts to penetrate the African markets.”