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South African Sugar Association Granted Conditional Exemption

November 9, 2020

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition

The Competition Commission has granted a conditional exemption to the South African Sugar Association (SASA).

SASA applied to the Commission in August 2020 to be exempted from certain provisions of Chapter 2 of the Competition Act.

The trade, industry and competition department announced the conditional exemption in Government Gazette 43872.

SASA comprises the South African Sugar Millers’ Association, the South African Cane Growers’ Association and the South African Farmers’ Development Association.

The application for exemption was in terms of agreements and/or practices in the industry to share competitively sensitive information and, in light of that information, engage regarding various options for the industry and its participants with a view to formulating agreed strategies or plans on certain issues such as a managed reduction and/or reallocation of capacity.

In particular, the Commission was requested to exempt the agreement and/or practice among South African sugar producers to exercise price restraint, formulate a plan to support small-scale growers, draw up an industry restructuring plan of the nature contemplated in the Sugar Master Plan and share competitively sensitive information with the Eswatini Sugar Association.

The application flowed from the designation, in June 2020, of the sugar industry in terms of Section 10(3)(b)(iv) of the Competition Act for a period of 12 months, commencing on 1 July 2020.

The Commission holds the view that the exemption is likely to contribute to the economic stability of the sugar industry and can be used to foster transformation and the opening of the sugar industry to previously disadvantaged individuals, particularly small-scale sugarcane growers.

The conditional exemption is granted until 31 June 2021.

Conditions and monitoring mechanisms are set down.

Meanwhile, in Notice 632, the department announced that the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) has made a preliminary determination to recommend to the trade, industry and competition minister that the investigation for remedial action in the form of a safeguard against the increased imports of structural steel products of U, I, H, L and T sections of iron or non-alloy steel be terminated.

The investigation was initiated in June 2020.

ITAC holds the view that the “injury experienced by the Applicant can be attributed to factors other than the increase in imports and these factors sufficiently detract from the causal link between the imports and the injury experienced by the industry”.