Government licenses two plants for porous iron production

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CAIRO: The Ministry of Trade and Industry has reduced its strict measures on the establishment of new iron and steel factories to boost production capacity in the domestic market and crack down on rising prices.

Rachid Mohamed Rachid, minister of Trade and Industry, approved on Thursday proposals for setting up two factories for directly reduced iron each with an annual capacity of 1.6 million tons. One plant will be established in Suez and the other in the Sadat Industrial City.

Porous iron, or the directly reduced iron, is the basic production input for casting plants and steel rebars production.

The move comes despite the Egyptian government s decision in February that imposes strict measures on licensing plants for production of fertilizers, cement, steel and aluminum on claims that such industries consume large amount of energy at the expense of other job-creating industries such as textiles.

Meanwhile, Rashid decided on Wednesday to increase the export tax rate on porous iron (or directly reduced iron) to LE 180 per ton from LE 160. His decision was prompted by complaints raised by iron traders that steel manufacturers would export iron in crude form to benefit from higher prices in the international market.

Sayed Al-Boos, first undersecretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry for Internal Trade Affairs, said the measures aimed at securing adequate supplies of inputs for small and mid-size plants at reasonable prices and improving control on the production chain.

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