Centre’s efforts bring down steel imports

Centre’s efforts bring down steel imports

By NAVTAN KUMAR | New Delhi | 27 August, 2016

The Centre’s aggressive measures to help domestic steel industry has started showing results with total steel imports coming down to 2.39 million tonne in April–July quarter, which is 34% lower than the same period last year.

The government first levied the Minimum Import Price (MIP) on 173 items in February for six months, which has been extended to 66 steel products for a period of two months. While the imports came down, the export of total finished steel was up by 8.7% and stood at 1.69 million tonne during this period, according to a steel ministry report.

The government also imposed Anti-Dumping Duty on hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel products this month, which is likely to give further push to its efforts to bring down imports and provide a level playing field for the domestic industry.

Notably, India, which is world’s third largest steel producer, is facing a tough time due to cheap imports and falling demand. Steel imports shot up to 20% in 2015-16 on year-on-year at 11 million tonne. Per capita steel consumption in India stood at 59.4 kg per person in 2014, against a global average of 216.6 kg, as per World Steel Association figures.

In order to give a further push, the government earlier this month imposed anti-dumping duty on hot-rolled steel products from six nations including China. The duty will be the difference between the landed value and the respective prescribed value which is $ 474 per tonne and $ 557 per tonne. The anti-dumping duty imposed will be effective for six months. The duty has been slapped on the imports of hot rolled flat products from China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Brazil and Indonesia on the basis of recommendations of the Directorate General of Anti Dumping (DGAD), an arm of the Ministry of Commerce.

Going ahead with its efforts to bring down imports, the Finance Ministry last week extended a similar levy on another grade of steel—cold rolled flat products imported from China, South Korea, Japan and Ukraine for six months. These products are used in sectors like automotive, appliances, furniture, construction etc. According to a steel company official, the government measures are bearing fruits. “It is of great help to the domestic industries. We hope the government will further extend the MIP regime,” he said.

The government move came following Indian steel companies like Essar Steel, Steel Authority of India Limited and JSW Steel jointly filed an application before the DGAD for initiation of anti-dumping investigation concerning the imports. They had complained about dumping and consequent injury and urged for levy of anti-dumping duty on imports from these countries.

Firms which are attracting the anti-dumping duty include Posco and Hyundai Steel (Korea), Nippon Steel, JFE Steel Corp (Japan).

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