Thapelo Lekabe

By Thapelo Lekabe

Senior Digital Journalist

SATMC calls for tariffs on imported tyres from China to protect local industry

The industry body says rising cheap imports from China adversely impact the local industry and jobs.

The South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) has raised concerns over the unfair trade caused by dumped imports of passenger, truck and bus tyres imported from China.

Anti-dumping duties

The industry body on Thursday called for anti-dumping duties to be imposed on China in order to rescue the South African tyre industry and the livelihoods dependent upon it.

SATMC represents the four tyre manufacturing companies in South Africa – Bridgestone, Continental, Goodyear and Sumitomo Rubber South Africa – on trade, economic and environmental policies, and tyre sector regulations.

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SATMC said its members contributed in excess of R15,9 billion to the economy between 2019 and 2021, with local tyre manufacturers employing more than 6 000 people directly in the country. Over 70% of tyres sold by SATMC members were produced in South Africa.

ITAC application

SATMC’s managing executive Nduduzo Chala said they lodged an application to the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) to investigate the unfair trade caused by dumped imports of tyres imported from China.

The investigation by ITAC could lead to import duties being levied on the imported tyres from China. Similar action was taken in countries such as India, Nigeria, the United States and the United Kingdom in order to protect the local industry and save jobs.

Chala said SATMC was not against healthy trade and competition at fair prices, but rather against tyres designed and manufactured in China that were imported unfairly into SA at unsustainable and rock-bottom rates.

“This limits the competitiveness of domestic manufacturers, who employ more than 6 000 people directly in South Africa and create indirect employment opportunities for more than 19 000 people.

“SATMC companies themselves work with tyre importers who demonstrate fair pricing, prioritise quality and safety, and are able to offer excellent after-sales service, guarantees and insurance, uplifting the domestic tyre sector and road safety industry as a whole,” said Chala in a statement.

China holds lion’s share of tyre imports

According to SATMC’s research, compiled independently by Lightstone Auto, the industry body said it found that in 2021 imported tyres in SA accounted for more than 50% of local circulation.

China held the lion’s share of tyre imports into the country. The South African Revenue Service (Sars) was also dealing with 64 cases of illicit trade into the country related to the tyre industry, according to SATMC.

Chala said the four tyre manufacturers had made sizeable investments into upping their domestic capacity.

However, this continued to be eroded as rising cheap imports adversely impacted industry capacity utilisation.

“We hope that our anti-dumping application to the ITAC, if successful, will help to provide a more level playing field for the South African tyre manufacturers to sustain the significant role of this industry within the economy,” said Chala.

The ITAC investigation was initiated on 31 January 2022, and was currently in its preliminary phase.

The investigation was required to be finalised within 18 months from the date of initiation. The final determination was expected to be made by ITAC in early 2023.

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