The South African steel industry requests for more protection against imports

The South African steel industry has requested for more protection against imports. This will likely be the case for some time as the local market continues to be in the doldrums.

In the latest move, the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) initiated a safeguard investigation on structural steel. Specifically, these are U, I, H, L, and T sections. The subject products are classified under tariff subheadings; 7216.31, 7216.32, 7216.33, 7216.40, 7216.50, and 7228.70.

Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium, Highveld Structural Mill, and ArcelorMittal South Africa applied for the safeguard measure.

A safeguard protects a specific domestic industry from a surge in imports. The surge should be causing or threatening to cause, serious injury to the local industry. It is an emergency measure to protect domestic industries.

Interest and use of the safeguard instrument has certainly risen considerably in South Africa given the increasing number of initiations. On 15 May 2020, guidelines outlining the process for requesting the extension of safeguard duties were published by ITAC.

Safeguard duties in South Africa are imposed for at most 3 years, however, Safeguard Regulations enable a 6-year extension. Generally, no safeguard duty has been extended in the last decade. Nevertheless, this may become a familiar occurrence once the guidelines are finalised.

Interested parties impacted by the structural steel safeguard investigation can submit comments until 9 June 2020.

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