Department of Trade, Industry and Competition
Two new Master Plans are on the cards.
The trade, industry and competition minister, Ebrahim Patel, announced this during the Trade, Industry and Competition Department Budget Vote 2020/21 in parliament.
One Master Plan will focus on the furniture sector which employs 65 000 people in South Africa with potential for many more small-scale artisans while the other will be directed at the steel industry that employs approximately 250 000 people.
According to the minister, the department will also focus on the implementation of existing Master Plans for autos, clothing, sugar and poultry.
Other priority programme areas that the department will recalibrate to save lives and protect livelihoods due to the Covid-19 pandemic include:
• finalising at least three new agreements on localisation and supplier development, following discussions with CEOs at fast food producers, hardware stores, grocery retailers and food and consumer goods manufacturers – CTFL retailers and manufacturers;
• provide trade support to local firms, both in the domestic market and for exports -complete talks with the EU on trade access; strengthen the actions against illegal imports; crack down further on customs fraud on imported goods, building on early successes by SARS and seek agreement to enable the AfCFTA to commence trade by the start of 2021;
• Focus on consolidating the presence of firms who have existing operations and help those who made investment pledges, to bring projects to fruition. New areas for investment include deepening production of PPEs, medical equipment and pharmaceuticals; and
• providing non-financial support to Black Industrialists to complement the funding – over the next 5 years to mobilise or commit very large sums in funding for Black industrialists and firms.
In order to prepare for the post-Covid world, the minister declared that the department will “strengthen efforts around reconstruction and recovery, including broader pacts with workers and businesses, focused on saving as many firms and jobs; identifying new opportunities; embracing digital technologies to recover and change; addressing economic inclusion with greater urgency”.
The minister added that every directorate of the department and every agency will prioritise saving firms and jobs and provide reports on a monthly basis.
The performance of the 17 public entities falling under the department will be reviewed, opportunities to consolidate and merge some entities identified, underperformance addressed and, in the case of the National Lotteries Commission, greater transparency and improved governance promoted.
Meanwhile, in Government Gazette 43542, the economic development department announced mergers approved by the Competition Tribunal.
Mergers approved include the acquiring of ALZU Agri (Pty) Ltd by the Government Employees Pension Fund SOC Ltd; Dewfresh (Pty) Ltd by Emasa Holdings (Pty) Ltd and Omwieco (Pty) Ltd by Investec Bank Ltd.
In Notice 392, the trade, industry and competition department announced the initiation of the investigation into the extension of safeguard measures on imports of certain flat-rolled products of iron, non-alloy steel or other alloy steel (not including stainless steel), whether or not in coils (including products cut-to-length and ‘narrow strip’), not further worked than hot-rolled (hot-rolled flat), not clad, plated or coated, excluding grain-oriented silicon electrical steel.
The application was lodged by the South African Iron and Steel Institute (SAISI), an industry body, on behalf of ArcelorMittal South Africa Limited, the only producer of the subject product in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
The International Trade Administration Commission found that “prima facie information was submitted to indicate that the SACU industry was suffering serious injury and the expiry of the current safeguard measures will likely lead to the recurrence of serious injury”.