Council promotes wire exports

17th September 2004 By: ongezwa manyathi

The South African Wire Business Council (SAWBC) has been registered as a Section 21 company for two years and is also in its second year of having full-time office staff. The organisation’s chairperson, Rick Allen, reports that SAWBC saw some highlights in the year ending February 2004. He reports that the first phase of the study into the wire products park has been completed and accepted by the main producers, down to the wire-drawing level of members. “This phase involved the conceptualisation of the park,” says Allen. Further, he adds that an analysis has been done of South Africa’s exposure in various significant export markets. Engineering News learns that subcommittees led by Willie Barnard and Dawid van der Bank have been formed to monitor South Africa’s exposure in foreign markets for high- and low-carbon wire respectively. The objective of these subcommittees is to ensure that South African producers control themselves in terms of World Trade Organisation rules. Allen says that SAWBC also initiated actions to improve the availability of import information on various platforms. “We trust that results will be achieved in the near future to the benefit of the local industry,” he says. This would assist in identifying import-replacement opportunities for the local industry.

Moreover, Allen reports that the SAWBC, together with the Izasa (Zinc Association), has drafted a report on the value of thicker galvanising of fencing wire and this was discussed with various experts in the industry. Information leaflets intended for the fencing industry, based on the findings of this report, are now available from the SAWBC office.

Allen further reports that the wire industry has performed well, with value-added exports showing growth of 16%, to 180 000 t, over the last year. He adds that wire rod accounts for only 11% of steel production in South Africa while value-added wire exports account for more than 38% of total value-added steel exports. Although it is slowly showing some stability, the rand has affected many industries poorly including the wire industry. Allen adds that SAWBC plans to focus on developing markets and products, particularly with the emphasis on downstream value adding. “This will be done to reduce our vulnerability at the commodity level,” he says. He adds that, if this is achieved, it will further enhance the industry’s objectives of job creation, small, medium and micro enterprise and black economic empowerment development. Further, this month, a group representing the wire industry will be visiting China to learn from its manufacturing and marketing experiences. Allen concludes by saying that the organisation has a duty to support its members through continuous skills development. “SAWBC will invest in training material from various sources and make that available to members,” he concludes. Further, Rick Allen (Meshco group), Keith Taylor (Haggie), Bushy Botha (CWI), Dawid van der Bank (Cape Gate), and Hennie de Kock (Hendok), who all served on the SAWBC have been unanimously re-elected.