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Comment on Forestry Sector Impact Assessment Extended

September 1, 2020

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

The call for comment on the Forestry Sector Impact Assessment has been extended.

The trade, industry and competition department announced the extension in Government Gazette 43668.

The Competition Commission first made the call for comment at the beginning of August 2020 in Gazette 43571.

According to the notice, the Commission conducted an impact assessment of its cumulative decisions in the forestry sector.

In a press release, the Commission points out that the study was “initiated under the new Section 21 (a) of the Competition Act which enhances the Commission’s powers to study and report on the impact of past decisions by the competition authorities in order to gain insights that may inform future action or direction within enforcement and advocacy”.

The study flows from concerns raised in several merger transactions and complaints investigated by the Commission which typically related to continuity of supply of timber from large vertically integrated firms.
The Commission found that the forestry sector is characterised by a few large vertically integrated firms which tend to dominate both upstream log supply and downstream milling and processing operations.

Key recommendations include:

• Mandatory notification of all acquisitions of plantations by the larger integrated forestry firms to gain a handle on merger creep within the sector;
• A greater focus on public interest in merger control focused around ensuring continued access to log supply by SMEs and HDP firms; and
• Support for collaboration by smaller firms that may enhance greater security of log supply, joint innovation and investment.

The study also calls for “state action which can assist in breaking the vicious cycle small non-integrated firms find themselves in so as to achieve the target of greater participation in this natural resource”.

Submissions on the preliminary findings of the impact study and the proposals made to remedy the concerns identified are now invited until 16 September 2020.

In Gazette 43660, the department published draft standards for comment in terms of the Standards Act.

Draft standards include solid mineral fuels – determination of total fluorine in coal, coke and fly ash; products used for treatment of water intended for human consumption – powdered activated carbon; hard coal-size analysis by sieving; guidance for Management Consultancy Services; set-top box decoder for free-to-air digital terrestrial television; live working-conductive clothing and materials for thermal insulation of buildings part-7 bonded cellulose fibre batts.

New standards include recognition of Standards Development Organizations (SDOs) in South Africa; coal-determination of the crucible swelling number; glass in building; the handling, storage and disposal of pesticides; solid mineral fuels-vocabulary part 2: terms relating to sampling, testing and analysis and the wiring of premises part 1: low-voltage installations.

In Notice 459, the department announced the final determination by the International Trade Administration Commission of the sunset review of the anti-dumping duties on gypsum plasterboards originating in or imported from Thailand and Indonesia.

The Commission recommended to the trade, industry and competition minister that the current anti-dumping duties on gypsum plasterboard originating in or imported from Thailand and Indonesia (excluding that manufactured by PT. Siam-Indo Gypsum Industry) be maintained.

The minister subsequently approved the recommendation and the amendment of Schedule 2 to the Customs and Excise Act was published in Gazette 43614 on 14 August 2020.