NEASA has withdrawn its urgent application in the Gauteng High Court to stop the implementation of a 10% import tariff and custom duties on coated flat-rolled products

“Early in August 2020 NEASA filed an urgent application in the Gauteng High Court to prevent Government from introducing more tariffs on nine new product codes, some of which are not even manufactured in South Africa,” said NEASA CE Gerhard Papenfus.

This application consisted of two parts:
Firstly, the urgent application was aimed at preventing ITAC from recommending to the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition to introduce the duties; and
Secondly, to take any decision to introduce these duties on review.

“Attempts by ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) for more protectionist duties amid the current severe backlogs, caused by its inability to supply the market, are absurd,” Papenfus had previously stated.

However, primary steel producer AMSA says the association’s withdrawal of the application follows after AMSA and International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) filed papers in response to the application.

“In ITAC’s answering affidavit, they indicated that they have made a decision but are not at liberty to disclose whether it is for or against the duties. Also clearly stipulated in their court papers, is that neither the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition or the Minister of Finance will “rubber stamp” the recommendation of ITAC and that both these ministers have a duty to “apply their minds” before any duties are introduced. It is on this basis that the decision was made to withdraw the urgent application.”

“Consequently, NEASA has addressed communiques to both the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Minister of Finance in order to, once again, explain the steel downstream’s predicament.”

“It was, among others, brought to the attention of both these ministers that AMSA did not fully start-up after lockdown and admittedly cannot fully supply the market. This has a domino effect on the entire industry and notices have been issued by various role players in the steel production chain that material is not available. The nine new tariff codes that AMSA has applied for directly relates to the products that are now unavailable.”

The duties on the nine new tariff codes are applicable on coated products supplied by AMSA and the two rerollers Safal Steel and Duferco Group.