trade, protectionism, steel, law, manufacturing
Commissioners urge court to rule in favor of steel raw material tariffs: A report by the State Commissioners Authority yesterday urged a high-level administrative court to rule against steel rolling mills in their effort to overturn a government’s decision to place import tariffs on steel rebar and iron billets, reports Al Mal. The commissioners said that protectionist measures were needed as imports of those raw materials have recently increased significantly, taking a toll on the local industry. The rolling mills have been protesting the tariffs, which were imposed by the Trade Ministry last April for nearly a year. Some twenty-two of them said last week they will suspend production after using their remaining billet stocks in the next 20 days.
Background: When the ministry imposed the tariffs, which start at 25% for rebars and 16% for billets and planned to be gradually tapered over three years, steel rolling mills claimed that they are unable to compete due to the high prices of raw materials. They managed to get a lower administrative court to reverse the decision, but failed to get their efforts through to the High Administrative Court ― which is now deciding whether to back the tariffs, or side with the lower court. The High Administrative Court will be in session on Saturday, 22 February, at which time it would have reviewed the commissioners’ report before issuing a final verdict.