Putrajaya moves to protect local steel industry from big foreign firms

Putrajaya says a white paper will be presented to the Cabinet on measures to protect the local steel industry. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The government will come up with a white paper on the local steel industry, which among others seeks to impose a moratorium on licenses to foreign steel manufacturers who want to set up base in Malaysia.

Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Ong Kian Ming said the white paper would include 68 recommendations to protect the local steel industry.

He said the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) wants to protect the local steel industry from foreign competition setting up base in Malaysia in the wake of the US-China trade war.

“The steel sector is one which I think is of particular concern to Miti because of the exisiting overcapacity and its under-utilisation,” Ong said after officiating a forum organised by the Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation (MISIF).

He said new players coming into the country, including Chinese steel companies, have very large capacities.

“That would have a very significant and severe impact on the local steel industry. That’s why we have to evaluate each and every application (for licence) very carefully.”

Manufacturing licenses and tax incentives are currently issued by the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA), an agency under Miti.