Safe­guard du­ties on steel could lead to run­away prices: MBAM

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

KUALA LUMPUR: The Mas­ter Builders As­so­ci­a­tion Malaysia (MBAM) has strongly op­posed the safe­guard mea­sures on steel as it feels the move could lead to un­con­trol­lable prices of steel bars due to the ab­sence of the free flow of im­ports.

In a state­ment, MBAM said the gov­ern­ment re­cently in­tro­duced safe­guard du­ties of 13.9% on steel coils and 13.4% on steel re­bars fol­low­ing a pe­ti­tion by lo­cal steel in­dus­try play­ers.

It said the lo­cal play­ers al­leged that the in­crease in im­ports of the steel prod­ucts into Malaysia caused se­ri­ous in­jury to the do­mes­tic in­dus­try pro­duc­ing sim­i­lar items.

“This safe­guard rate will be im­posed on top of the ex­ist­ing 5% im­port duty. This ac­tion has an enor­mous im­pact on con­sumers of steel in Malaysia. Steel is used as an in­put in dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries and any fur­ther rise in steel prices will in­crease the cost of pro­duc­tion,” the as­so­ci­a­tion said.

MBAM said the gov­ern­ment should look at a sus­tain­able long-term plan on this is­sue, as the lo­cal pro­duc­ers were not sup­posed to be pro­tected for their in­abil­ity to stay com­pet­i­tive.

“Be­sides, this mea­sure is a U-turn from the gov­ern­ment’s pre­vi­ous de­ci­sion in 2008 to lib­er­alise the steel in­dus­try by abol­ish­ing price con­trol/ ceil­ing prices,” it added. – Ber­nama

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