Seifsa encourages local production to beat rising imports

Topic to be discussed at Metals and Engineering Indaba, to be held at Emperor’s Palace, Ekurhuleni, on May 28 and 29.

It is imperative for the local industry to strike a healthy balance between international competition and dumping, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (Seifsa) has said.

A flood of cheap imports; unfair competition from highly subsidised countries, such as China; dumping; and stagnant economic growth were negatively impacting the domestic metals and engineering sector, as well as the broader manufacturing sector.

In South Africa, manufacturing exports represented an estimated 35% of production, while imports had captured nearly 45% of the domestic market. The metals and engineering sector exported 60% of its products and competed with imports for 60% of the domestic market.

“For companies operating in the metals and engineering sector to survive in such turbulent economic times, it is vitally important that robust discussions are held and strategies aimed at ensuring the survival of the sector devised,” Seifsa CEO Kaizer Nyatsumba stressed.

The industry body noted in a statement that the issues of rising imports and dumping would be the main focus of the second plenary session of the inaugural two-day Southern African Metals and Engineering Indaba, to be held at Emperor’s Palace, Ekurhuleni, on May 28 and 29.

University of South Africa School of Law Professor Omphemetse Sibanda, Investec Bank chief economist Annabel Bishop, Frontier Advisory CEO Martyn Davies, CBC Fasteners CEO Rob Pietersma and Seifsa chief economist Henk Langenhoven would debate these issues.

Organised and hosted by Seifsa, the indaba was aimed at encouraging growth in the metals and engineering sector, which had underperformed over the past five years.

The conference would bring together business owners, trade unionists and policymakers from across the Southern African Development Corridor to deliberate on turnaround strategies for the sector.

Nyatsumba commented that the upcoming Indaba provided a platform for all stakeholders in this important sector, “not only to engage robustly on matters impacting the sector, but also to come up with sustainable growth solutions that would see the sector rise out of the doldrums.”