22 rolling mills to halt production on steel import tariffs
Row over steel import tariffs flares up again: Twenty-two steel rolling mills will suspend production in protest at the government’s decision to place import tariffs on steel rebar and iron billets, according to the local press. The Trade Ministry last year introduced a 25% duty on steel rebar imports and a 16% tariff on iron billets in a bid to protect local producers. The decision has angered steel rolling mills who claim that they are unable to compete due to the high prices of raw materials.
The mills, having failed so far to overturn the ministry’s decision through the courts, will now shut down production, Gamal El Garhy, head of El Garhy Steel and the Metallurgical Chamber at the Federation of Egyptian Industries, said yesterday. Some of the mills have already stopped production while more will halt operations after using their remaining billet stocks in the next 20 days.
What comes next: A commissioners' report should be out on Saturday, on which the Administrative Court will base its decision on whether to back the tariffs, or side with the lower administrative court which reversed the ministry’s decision. As it currently stands, the ministry will gradually taper the tariffs over the next three years. The duties are set to fall to 21% for steel rebar and 13% for iron billets on 11 April 2020.