WADEVILLE, South Africa May 8 South Africa had
"no choice" but to impose emergency safeguard tariffs on imports
of certain flat hot-rolled steel products to protect local
industry, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rob Davies said on
Africa's most industrial country is proposing to put on the
safeguard duties from July, it said in a filing published by the
World Trade Organization in April.
The tariff would be in place for three years, and is
proposed to fall from 12 percent in the first year to 10 percent
in the second year and 8 percent in the third.
"We'll indicate what the quantum is when those processes are
complete," Davies told Reuters on the sidelines of a visit to a
"We got to defend to ensure that we maintain the primary
steel manufacturing in South Africa. We got no choice actually,
(if) we let it go then there will be a huge knock-on effect for
the industry as a whole because we don't have the capacity to
Domestic steel producers have said China, which produces
half the world's steel, has been dumping excess output locally
as consumption at home wanes and these low-priced imports have
resulted in low sales volumes for the domestic firms.
Davies said the tariff would be imposed in a way that it
also accommodates the downstream industry, where the main jobs
"The levels of protection we've deployed in South Africa are
modest by global comparison," Davies said.
Emergency tariffs are used against an unforeseen surge of
imports that threatens domestic producers. They are allowed
under WTO rules but have to be notified to the WTO and justified
by data, and can be challenged by other WTO members.
(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Toby Chopra)