By Nyein Nyein
Myanmar currently imports steel mostly from China to fulfill domestic demand, according to the Myanmar Steel Association (MSA). Therefore, members of the MSA are exploring setting up an iron and steel industrial zone to boost production to help achieve self-sufficiency in steel.
Although Myanmar imports steel from China, Viet Nam, Japan, India and the Republic of Korea, China is the main supplier of steel to Myanmar, with a market share of over 50 per cent.
“At present, Myanmar’s steel demand is estimated to be about 2.5 million tons, 92 per cent of which is imported. Therefore, studies for implementation of iron and steel industrial zone projects are under way in Ayeyawady and Taninthayi regions and Rakhine and Mon states,” said U Sit Taing Aung, chairman of the MSA.
If Myanmar can produce enough steel to meet local consumption and focus on import substitution, the steel industry will strategically contribute to our national interest, he added.
“Therefore, 11 executive members of the MSA have established the MSA Public Company Limited, and they are making efforts to set up an iron and steel industrial zone with a view to reducing the outflow of US dollars, bringing about the development of the steel industry, and assisting in the country’s infrastructure building effort,” U Sit Taing Aung said.
“Moreover, the MSA also formed an advisory board comprising five experts in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The advisory board helped formulate steel standards, one of the most important processes in the sector, in cooperation with the National Standardization Committee. The committee completed the draft standards for iron and steel in January this year and they will be approved soon,” he said.
Once the standards for iron and steel are set, the next priority would be building a testing laboratory, he added.
The advisory board submitted a total of 16 papers, including an academic paper on the steel sector and standardization and laboratory documentation, to the related ministries and government organizations in the 2018-2019FY.
As the steel sector will involve large investments in the long term, the government needs to lend support in terms of providing tax relief, land, controlling illegal imports, implementing the anti-dumping law, and formulating iron and steel policies, according to the MSA. (Translated by Hay Mar)