South Africa plans emergency steel tariff from July – WTO
South Africa is proposing to put emergency “safeguard” tariffs on imports of certain flat hot-rolled steel products from July, it said in a filing published by the World Trade Organisation on Thursday.
The tariff would be in place for three years, and fall from 12% in the first year to 10% in the second year and 8% in the third, it said.
South Africa said the proposal was based on a final determination by its International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) that domestic production had suffered serious damage from an unforeseen surge in imports.
The analysis of damage to the domestic industry was based on information from AcelorMittal South Africa Limited, which constituted more than 70% of total domestic production of the affected products, it said.
ITAC began investigating the case for safeguard tariffs in March 2016.
South Africa offered to consult with other WTO members on the proposed tariff. Many developing countries are exempt from the tariff, but imports from major producers such as China and India would be covered by it.
In a separate case, South Africa had also been considering putting a 10% safeguard tariff on cold-rolled steel.
Emergency tariffs are used against an unforeseen surge of imports that threatens domestic producers. They are allowed under WTO rules but have to be notified to the WTO and justified by data, and can be challenged by other WTO members.