The International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac), the government body responsible for import and export control, has posted a notice in the government gazette stating that imports of iron bolts, nuts and screws from China are causing a problem in the local market. There is evidence of a significant sharp surge in imports, and that it is causing serious harm to local producers, the body said.

Potential safeguards against Chinese fastener imports

This follows an investigation launched last year. During this investigation, Itac considered evidence from T&I Chalmers Engineering in Johannesburg, which produces more than 70% of the bolt ends and screw studs in South Africa, and from other companies that manufacture hexagon nuts including Transvaal Pressed Nuts, Bolts & Rivets, CBC Fasteners and SA Bolt Manufacturers, which together deliver more than 90% of total output.

There is currently a large oversupply of fasteners worldwide, which has caused a surge in imports to South Africa, Itac found. The body now needs to decide whether a safeguard is needed in the form of a quota or extra import duties. Only iron products will be affected, with the safeguard measures not applying to stainless steel bolts, nuts and screws.

The South African government has imposed and scrapped anti-dumping duties on Chinese nuts and bolts at various times since 1999. In 2016, it removed anti-dumping duties of up to 122% on Chinese fastener imports. More than R2 billion worth of fasteners are imported to South Africa a year.

According to recent reports, a slowdown in the Chinese economy has contributed to a large amount of unused stock, resulting in larger-than-usual cheap exports. Canada and the US have already taken action against Chinese imports.


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