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PETALING JAYA: From Feb 1, a total of 18 grades of steel imports will cease receiving duty exemptions, said the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti).
It said in a statement that it would also cease the issuance of Temporary Certificate Of Approval (TCOA) in 30 days from yesterday and that companies currently utilising TCOA might be considered for fast-track clearance for a period of six months.

"This six-month grace period is to enable the companies to make the necessary adjustments in adhering to the streamlined processes for the importation of iron and steel products," Miti said.
However, for companies that were currently not using the TCOA facility, the present process of applying for COA remained in place, it added.

Miti said to facilitate clearance at the ports, importers also had the choice of having their products tested by accredited laboratories, both domestic and foreign. The list of accredited laboratories is available online at www.standardsmalaysia.gov.my.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in the statement that the Government would take appropriate measures to promote the development of the domestic steel industry, adding that it would be done while respecting Malaysia's international obligations to promote free and fair trade.

He said the Government's approach would be to focus on the enforcement of mandatory standards to prevent below-par products from entering the local market, adding that appropriate measures would be taken to counter unfair trade practices.

Mustapa also said he was eyeing the establishment of an independent entity called Malaysia Steel Institute (MSI) by the first quarter of 2013.

"The MSI will have an important role to play, especially in human resource development, research and development, formulation of standards and laboratory testing for the industry," he said.
He added that the Government would also secure better market access for Malaysia's steel products through free trade agreements.

"Overall, the industry is supportive of the efforts by the Government to restructure the industry. The implementation of the measures will further enhance the industry's competitiveness and help build its capacity to face challenges," he added.

Link: http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2013/1/23/business/12613020&sec=business