The Indonesian government will ease rules on the import of scrap metal for use as raw material by the country’s steel industry, hoping this will lead to a reduction in imports of steel billets, the industry minister said. The Indonesian Iron & Steel Association has long complained that steel imports, particularly from China, have hurt their business, despite anti-dumping duties applied on many types of steel products from China and other countries.

Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita said the local steel industry is now using only about 40% of its capacity, partly because companies don’t have enough materials for production.

If the country’s mills can increase their use rates, they can supply 70% of domestic steel product demand, he said. “We’ve decided for scrap metal, we will relax their imports … because we can see the need for scrap metal in the domestic market,” Kartasasmita said. “This will support the production of billets.”

Scrap metal is currently included in the government’s list of dangerous and poisonous waste. Importers of such waste must have a license and must obtain numerous permits from the ministries of industry, environment and trade.

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