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U.S. Exempts South African Mills from Steel and Aluminium Tariffs

As per the latest updates, U.S. has exempted some of the South African (SA) steel and aluminium producers from the steep tariffs imposed under section 232.

The U.S. Department of Commerce granted exemptions for 161 aluminum and 36 steel products made by companies whose U.S. customers asked for the exemptions, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

The products which are exempted include aluminum foil and aluminum plates, sheets and strip, as well as steel hot-rolled bars, hot-rolled sheets, cold-rolled sheets, plates cut and plates in coils.

Post import tariffs announced by U.S. on steel and aluminium imports in the month of Mar’18, South African government was worried about the negative impact it will have on country’s employment. This is because although SA’s contribution in U.S.’s total steel imports is usually below 2%, losing U.S. market would mean putting 300,000 tonne of steel production at risk and with it roughly 7 500 jobs in the steel and manufacturing supply chain.

DTI had earlier reiterated in its argument to the U.S. government that SA would be disproportionately affected both in terms of jobs and productive capacity. The department also argued that SA is also grappling with the steel glut and has control measures in place to avoid transhipment of steel from third countries.

In 2017, South Africa’s steel exports to the U.S. made up 1.4% of America’s steel imports and were valued at USD 950-million. Aluminum exports, meanwhile, were USD 375-million in 2017, accounting for 1.6% of U.S. imports from all global suppliers.

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