Saudis look to abolish steel duty

Saudi authorities are seeking to abolish a five per cent customs duty on steel imports to counter a deficit in domestic supply, the head of the kingdom's biggest steel producer said yesterday. “There is an intention to abolish the duty but it has not been enacted yet. Such a decision can not be taken without consultations with other Gulf Arab countries,” said Mohamed al-Mady, Chief Executive of Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC). State-controlled SABIC controls Hadeed, which covers about 62 per cent of the kingdom's steel demand. SABIC is seen as the Saudi steel industry's bellwether because of its large production and its closeness to the government. Saudi Arabia and five other Gulf Arab countries have formed a customs union which imposes a common external tariff for imported products.