South African cement sector calling for import probe

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South Africa: The South African cement industry is calling on the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) to probe a flood of imports into the country. South Africa, which has six cement producers and more than 30% over-capacity, has become a net importer of cement. Imports have increased by 139% since 2016, according to The Concrete Institute’s (ITC) managing director Brian Perrie.

Perrie said in an interview that TCI, representing AfriSam, Dangote Cement South Africa, Lafarge Industries South Africa, Natal Portland Cement and PPC were approaching ITAC to investigate whether the industry required protection from an 18-month surge in imports.

He said that imported cement was undercutting South African prices by as much as 45%, while local producers also had to meet the requirements of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), meet black empowerment and other social requirements and, at the same time, protect thousands of jobs in the domestic industry. Also, the recent carbon tax translated into a 2% increase in selling prices, putting the local industry at a further price disadvantage. “Trade remedy protection is required," said Perrie, pointing out that producers did not want a ‘ban’ on imports, rather some form of protection to ‘level the playing field.’

South Africa instituted anti-dumping duties of 17 – 70% against importers from Pakistan in 2015. Imports duly fell in 2016 but rose again in 2017 and 2018, mainly from Vietnam and China. Perrie said that 350,441t of cement arrived in the second quarter of 2019 alone, the most since the third quarter of 2015. Most came in through Durban (260,909t), an 85% increase on the first quarter.

Last modified on 14 August 2019

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