The Government has assured contractors and builders that duties charged on certain steel construction materials would not be a burden to them.
“If we allow these goods into the country cheaply, the same industries in the country will be closed,” Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani said.
The Government has introduced “safeguard duties” of 13.9% for steel coils and 13.4% for steel rebar.
The duties, which will be in place for three years, was in view of the plight of many domestic steel manufacturers experiencing losses due to dumping activities by mainland Chinese players.
“If the product can be produced locally, we do not see why we have to import,” he told reporters after attending the Seri Perlis 2 Public Housing Project gotong-royong here yesterday.
Johari was commenting on a statement by the Master Builders Association of Malaysia (MBAM) that the duties would increase the costs of construction projects.
Earlier, MBAM president Foo Chek Lee said in a statement that the “definitive safeguard duties” on imported steel rebar, wire rods, and deformed bar in coils (DBIC) would be a burden to builders.
Foo said MBAM hoped the prices of steel bars would remain stable and not escalate out of hand due to the absence of the free flow of imported steel.