South African government halts scrap metal exports

South Africa puts two-month ban in place to “safeguard employment” at domestic metal production sites.

July 13, 2020

South Africa’s Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition (MTIC) has placed a two-month ban on the export of several types of ferrous and nonferrous scrap metal, citing powers granted to the ministry by the International Trade Administration Act of 2002.

An eight-page notice issued July 3 by the ministry lists numerous metals covered by the ban, including iron, steel, copper, aluminum, lead, zinc, tin, magnesium, manganese and another 15 minor and rare earth metals. The ministry uses the term “waste and scrap” and gives accompanying tariff codes for the scrap commodities.

“The Minister has received representations from the domestic consuming industry that there is a shortage of affordable scrap metal and the [existing] price preference system is not achieving the objectives of the Policy Directive, which is causing severe harm to the industry and affecting its recovery from the destructive effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic,” states the directive, which is signed by MTIC Minister Ebrahim Patel.

The ministry says a 2013 Policy Directive gives it the ability “to ensure an affordable supply of quality scrap metal [to] safeguard employment and to maintain and increase industrial capacity to promote infrastructure development.”

Patel’s document says the ban will be in effect for two months, until Sept. 2 or 3, while the Ministry’s International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) investigates “whether the price preference system is achieving the objectives of the Policy Directive, and in particular (but without limitation), whether there is a shortage of scrap metal for the domestic processing industry; whether the discount, delivery and payment terms should be amended; and whether another formula should be applied to achieve the objectives.”

Exceptions will be made for shipments that either are received or applied for export permits before the July 3 publication of the new policy, according to the notice. Some exceptions also may be made for “ferrous and nonferrous metals listed in the schedule hereto which [ITAC] determines are not used by the domestic processing industry.”