Threat to SA cement producers confirmed
A looming competitive threat to South African-based cement producers from exports from China has been confirmed.
Thato Chabeli, the interim group manager marketing, public relations and communications at SABS, confirmed that “two schemes” for Longkou Fanlin Cement had been approved by the SABS.
Chabeli said the SABS had not received any other applications from cement factories in China for certification that were still pending.
All cement has to be certified as being compliant with the South African compulsory specification before it can be sold into the domestic market.
However, Chabeli stressed Longkou Fanlin Cement also needed to secure a letter of approval (LoA) from the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications (NRCS) before the company would be permitted to export its cement to South Africa.
The NRCS failed to respond to a request for comment on whether it had issued LoA to any cement firms in China.
Donald MacKay, a director of XA International Trade Advisors, said that the certification by the SABS of cement factories in China meant the domestic cement industry was likely to soon be in the same position as it was before when cement from Pakistan was exported to South Africa.
The competitive threat from Chinese cement producers follows a number of local cement producers lodging a dumping complaint with the International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) about cement imported into South Africa from Pakistan.
Itac imposed duties ranging between 14.29 and 77.15% on cement imported from Pakistan.
This resulted in cement imports into South Africa from Pakistan dropping by 30% and the Pakistan government to approach the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to revoke the anti-dumping rules imposed by Itac.
About 645 910 tons of cement was imported into South Africa from Pakistan between January last year and January this year while 77 640 tons was imported from China.
MacKay believed it would not be long before China replaced the Pakistani cement that was being imported.