The time when cheap Chinese imports only affected the textile industry is gone.
Our entire manufacturing industry is at risk of collapsing. Iíve been making LED lights for mining application for the last 8 years. A local company sent my lights to China as samples and is now selling a Chinese version of my lamps at half the price. I also started making auto lamps for cars and trucks but this market is very difficult to compete with the cheap Chinese imports. We are now getting to the point that anyone can take a locally made product send it to China and have the product made at half the price. We need government to put an extra tax on imported products that has a locally made equivalent. For one of my lamp thatís in a very competitive market I tried to get the PC board made locally the best price I could get was R28.00 I sent the file to China and they charged me R10.00 per board thatís with shipping. So can we compete with China?
Yes I think we can on many products if we could get an extra import tax on the Chinese products and change our production method. Lets take my industry. The ledís and all the other electronic components must still come from China so the playing field is not equal. What needed is that the rest of the lamp like the plastic housings and the assembly are done locally. Thatís another problem because here we have trade unions demanding higher wages as well as other labor costs. Lets take the cell phone chargers that everyone is selling. If you open one you will see the electronics is not machine made its all been hand assembled and soldered it was designed for manual assembly.
So could we make the call phone charger locally? Yes but not in a factory with labor laws and unproductive workers.
I am going to design one of my lights for manual assembly I will not use PC boards for the components or use any of my workers to assemble these lights. I will be using mostly woman working from home assembling the lights and pay them per unit done I will limit each person to only 10 lamps per day and pay them R10.00 per unit assembled. We have so many unemployed people and I already have to many that want to assemble these lights.