The concern comes after the US President Donald Trump signed proclamations granting permanent country-exemptions to a select number of countries and extended by one month the Section 232 steel and aluminium tariff duty exemptions for some.
Select countries including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and South Korea as well as the European Union (EU) are exempt.
The proclamation followed reports from Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of Commerce that imports of these products threaten to impair US national security.
“South Africa is disappointed that it was not granted an exemption from the duties,” Sidwell Medupe, South Africa Department of Trade and Industry spokesman, said.
Medupe said South Africa was not a cause of any national security concerns in the US nor a threat to US industry interests.
Instead, he said, South Africa found itself as collateral damage in the trade war of key global economies.
“South Africa is concerned by the unfairness of the measures and that it is one of the countries that are singled out as a contributor to US national security concerns when its exports of aluminium and steel products are not that significant.”
South Africa has through the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, made representations to the US, including two written submissions.
South African Ambassador to the US, Mninwa Mahlangu has also engaged with the White House National Security Council Staff, State Department, the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and Commerce Department in this regard.
Davies had teleconferences with Ambassador Curtis Joseph Mahoney on the issue.
“South Africa remains open to engage US authorities towards finding a mutually acceptable outcome,” Medupe said.