23 April 2012

Miti confirms appointing BCG to study sector

Local steel players have something to look forward to in light of the latest development in the Government's future intiatives and policies on the critical sector.

The International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) in an email reply yesterday confirmed StarBiz report that Boston Consultancy Group (BCG) has been appointed as the ministry's consultant to undertake a comprehensive study on the entire local steel sector.

The study is scheduled for completion in June.

The appointment was made on Feb 29 and in accordance with the tendering procedures as stipulated in the Treasury circular, the ministry said.

The time-frame for the study on “Enhancing the Competitiveness of the Iron and Steel Industry in Malaysia” would be within 14 weeks, which covers the upstream and downstream activities of the industry.

Miti said: “The wide coverage was to ensure all future initiatives and policies that the Government planned to undertake would be fair to all parties and will contribute to the growth of the critical steel sector as well as enhance its competitiveness and development.”

It also said that Miti's objectives and expectation of the study will be as follows:

To obtain the baseline data of the domestic iron and steel industry;

Analyse the competitiveness of the industry versus that of the region and globally;

Study the impact of liberalisation of tariffs to the industry; and

Develop a framework for national policy on iron and steel industry.

Earlier reliable sources told StarBiz the appointment of BCG came about after Miti was faced with the task of mapping out the proper measures to address the increasing petitions and submissions from upstream and downstream steel players.

Many players have expressed their disappointment over the unfavourable bilateral free trade agreements between Asean and China as well as the unbalanced domestic liberalised steel sector.

The situation was made worse by the hikes in electricity tariffs, natural gas prices and substandard products in the local market.

The country's sole hot-rolled coil (HRC) producer Megasteel Sdn Bhd, a unit of Lion Group, has put up a safeguard petition in June last year seeking the imposition of an additional 35% duty on imported HRC, which currently attracts an import duty of 25%.

The petition after much deliberation was terminated by Miti in August. Megasteel later in October again asked Miti to consider reducing the import duty on flat-steel products to 15% from 25%. The latest petition, however, remained status quo.

The latest submission is by Mycron Steel Bhd early this year which sought duty-free iron-ore based HRCs import into Malaysia.

Source: www.thestar.com.my


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