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Scrap iron dealers want protection

Bharath urged to limit foreigners

By Carolyn Kissoon carolyn.kissoon@trinidadexpress.com

MINISTER of Trade, Industry and Investment Vasant Bharath is expected to meet local scrap iron dealers, who are calling for regularisation of the industry.

The dealers are seeking protection from the authorities, claiming foreign businessmen are entering this country and taking control of the market.

Bharath is awaiting a draft of the proposed regulations before a meeting is scheduled, the Express was told.

Members of the Scrap Iron Dealers Association have staged a protest against foreigners opening businesses in Trinidad and Tobago.

Some 40 local scrap iron dealers held up placards outside a business place in Charlieville on Wednesday, reportedly owned by an Indian national.

Association secretary, Kenny Plaza, said local dealers were facing closure.

He said: "These are the same people we supplied scrap iron to. Now they are coming here and opening up businesses.

"We cannot compete with them because they are offering higher prices for scrap iron. The price is fluctuating at this time. We cannot meet these prices and we will have to close down if they continue."

Plaza said foreign dealers were shipping the scrap iron abroad at low costs.

"We cannot meet these costs. For example they are not preparing the iron before packaging, they are just buying, putting in containers and shipping.

"But we have to pay additional costs to prepare and package the steel. To prepare this iron would be about $100 per pound, so it is very costly for us," he said.

Plaza said local suppliers were willing to continue working with the dealers in India and China.

"But it is not right for them to come to Trinidad and open businesses. We are expected to meet the minister and officials in the ministry to discuss our concerns. They are preparing a draft of the regulations for us," he said.

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