Cement producers await anti-dumping verdict

24 Oct 2014
Freight and Trading Weekly, 24 October 2014
By Adele Mackenzie

The investigation into bagged cement dumping from Pakistan – at a price that is 48% lower in South Africa than the normal value in the country of origin – is under way and is expected to be completed by June 2015, according to the International Trade Administration
Commission (Itac).

“The investigation – requested by four major bagged cement producers in South Africa, including
PPC Cement, Lafarge South Africa and Afrisam – was launched on August 22 and we aim to complete it within 10 months,” said Foster Mohale, communications manager at Itac.

He told FTW that cement was currently not subject to any ordinary customs duties and that according to information at Itac’s disposal, 1 091 235 kilograms of the product was imported from Pakistan in 2013 – about 98% of all imports into the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).

“We are awaiting responses to the Commission’s questionnaires from importers and manufacturers/exporters in Pakistan. Once the Commission has completed its investigation, it will make a recommendation to the Minister of Trade and Industry who will make the final decision on whether or not anti-dumping duties should be imposed,” Mohale said.

Lafarge South Africa’s communications manager, Chantal Stewart, told FTW that the imports from Pakistan had had an impact on the local manufacturer’s business. She noted that consistent quality cement in compliance with South African National Standards (SANS) and international standards was essential to ensure safe construction of infrastructure, buildings and housing. “Locally produced cement offers the guarantee of consistent superior quality products.

This is the case for Lafarge South Africa’s cement which exceeds by far the regulated standards required by law,” said Stewart. One of the leading exporters of cement into the Sacu region from Pakistan is Lucky Cement, whose COO, Amin Ganny, rejected the notion that South African cement was superior, claiming that the quality of Pakistani cement was in fact superior and that local manufacturers needed to impose customs duties because they could not compete equitably.

“We have seen similar tactics in African markets before where we were blamed for shipments of low quality cement but we managed that issue.”

Pakistani daily newspaper, The International News, quoted an “industry source” as saying that the gap between the export price and the local Pakistan price was not as big as African producers were quoting. “The existing price gap is reasonable,” the source reportedly said.