Johannesburg - The SA Fasteners Manufacturers Association (Safma) will on Friday ask the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) of South Africa to apply maximum tariffs on imported fasteners, such as set screws, nuts and bolts, chairman Rob Pietersma said yesterday.

Itac is currently conducting a review on the duty structures of various downstream steel products, including fasteners. The review covered R23.5 billion worth of imports in the period between June last year and May this year. The value of imported fasteners in that period was R2.5bn.

Imported electrical generation and transmission products were valued at R6.5bn, while the value of imported rail equipment and household appliances was R5.3bn and R4.3bn respectively.

The review also included electrical generation and transmission, rail equipment, household appliances, pipe fittings, cranes and lifting equipment, wire, pumps and prefabricated buildings.

Itac terminated anti-dumping duties on bolts and nuts imported from the People’s Republic of China, with effect from August 5. This followed Safma’s decision not to supply information that would have enabled the commission to review the anti-dumping duties.

Ineffective

Safma represents major producers of screws, nuts and bolts in the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and constitutes 80 percent of the Sacu production volume.

Pietersma said yesterday that Safma’s decision was deliberate, because the duties had become ineffective in the local manufacturers’ battle against cheaper products from China. “In the previous reviews there were exemptions. That opened the door for more imports,” he said. For instance, four Chinese manufacturers of set screws were exempted.

“So even though there were anti-dumping duties, the number of imports (from China) did not reduce because of the exemptions. So the protection was of no value,” said Pietersma.

He said, instead of applying for the extension of the anti-dumping duties by another five years, the association would on Friday make a submission to Itac, requesting a the maximum 30 percent tariffs for set screws, nuts and bolts. According to XA International Trade Advisors, the Itac review covered products imported from 204 different countries.

Depressing

Safma has previously claimed that bolts and nuts imports were depressing and suppressing local selling prices. It claimed that the imports would lead to reduced sales, profit margins, production, market share, capacity utilisation, return on investment and affect cash flows of local companies.

South Africa imposed the anti-dumping duties on imported Chinese products in 1999. Following Itac’s reviews, the anti-dumping duties were re-imposed in 2004/5 and 2010/11. The duties are reimposed for five years each time.

BUSINESS REPORT