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Indonesia business urges government to raise tariffs on China steel

Christian Fernsby |
Indonesian business groups want the government to hike tariffs on Chinese steel to rein in cheap imports, as the Southeast Asian country's top steel producer said its restructuring would bring large layoffs.

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Thousands of workers in state-controlled Krakatau Steel protested last week near a production facility in Cilegon on the western coast of Java, after it announced plans for a 30% cut in its workforce of 6,264 in stages through 2020, Indonesian media said.

Apart from the job cuts, Krakatau Steel said it would sell non-core assets and spin off some units to improve its financial condition.

The industry turmoil comes despite a boom in infrastructure investment by the government in the last few years, with business groups blaming imported steel as the main factor responsible for the pressure.

"For us, the most important thing is to protect domestic industry so we don't die, by putting on high tariffs," Didi Aulia, head of construction business at Indonesia's chamber of commerce said on Thursday.

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