The government has confirmed that a surge in Chinese imports of bolts, nuts and screws is inflicting serious injury on local producers.
After launching an investigation last year, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) is now satisfied that imports of iron and steel Chinese fasteners is posing a real problem.
In a notice in the government gazette on Friday, Itac – the government body responsible for import and export control – says there is enough evidence of a significant sharp surge in imports, and that it is causing serious harm to local producers.
Next, the commission will decide whether a “safeguard” is needed. This is usually an emergency measure that restricts imports through a quota or extra import duties. (Stainless steel bolts, nuts and screws won't be affected.)
Itac considered evidence from T&I Chalmers Engineering in Johannesburg, which produces more than 70% of the bolt ends and screw studs in South Africa, and from other companies that manufacture hexagon nuts including Transvaal Pressed Nuts, Bolts & Rivets, CBC Fasteners and SA Bolt Manufacturers, which together deliver more than 90% of total output.
Itac heard that there is currently a large oversupply of fasteners worldwide, which has caused a surge in imports to South Africa.
A slowdown in the Chinese economy has contributed to a large amount of unused stock, resulting in larger-than-usual cheap exports.
Canada and the US have already taken action against Chinese imports.
The South African government has imposed and scrapped anti-dumping duties on Chinese nuts and bolts at various times since 1999. In 2016, it removed anti-dumping duties of up to 122% on Chinese fastener imports.
More than R2 billion worth of fasteners are imported to South Africa a year.
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