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JOHANNESBURG - The South African government said on Tuesday that it will continue to work with the steel industry towards averting job losses in the sector, adding that it has put in place measures to save the steel industry from collapsing. 

This emerged when officials from the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) briefed their relevant portfolio committee on the status of the steel industry and interventions that government was deploying to assist the industry stay afloat.

Acting chief director of primary minerals processing at the dti, Dr Umeesha Naidoo said that since the onset of the crisis in 2015, government has established a task team which intervened to save the steel industry from threat of closure and loss of capacity. 

“Following the establishment of the task team, there are numerous short to medium term measures that have been put in place to support the steel industry. These include an increase in the general rate of customs duty on primary steel products to 10 percent and safeguard measures for a period of three years on hot rolled coil and plate products," Naidoo said. 

Naidoo also said that there was an agreement on a set of principles for flat steel pricing in SA that is priced appropriately to ensure that steel-dependent industries are competitive. This is also aimed at ensuring that the upstream steel mills remain sustainable. 

The department also reflected on the United States's Section 232 duties against steel imports, saying that it will continue advocacy efforts with the US counterparts focussing on trade and investment relations.

- African News Agency (ANA)