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New tax a life raft for Pakistan’s shipbreakers?

South Asia – Pakistan’s shipbreakers have welcomed a new 15% tax on imported steel billet, bar and wire rod which has been introduced to boost stability in the local market and to counter dumping, reports IHS Maritime. However, they are unconvinced that the tax will successfully stem the flood of cheap imports from China.

Although India reduced its basic customs duty on imported scrap ships from 5% to 2.5%, the inflow of cheap products has continued to undercut the ship steel market. ‘The regulatory import duty is definitely hailed by the Pakistan Ship Breakers Association, which expects it to reduce imports of Chinese finished steel alloy products,’ says its secretary Asif Khan, who is based at shipbreaking giant Gadani.

Meanwhile, Chinese steel producers are said to be ‘bracing themselves’ to cut prices to ‘nullify the impact’. Khan expects the situation to become clearer in the weeks ahead. ‘But we understand that China has a large ready inventory for export at cheap prices, which is disturbing the market prices equilibrium,’ he adds.

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