India has become a net exporter of steel after a gap of three years, while imports have decreased considerably due to strong anti-dumping measures taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and a minimum import price (MIP) levied on steel.

According to the latest report of the Joint Plant Committee (JPC), steel exports jumped by 77% to 6.62 million tonnes (MT), while imports fell by 38.5% to 6.59 MT, during the period April-February 2016-17, compared to the same period in the last fiscal. Though the difference between exports and imports is just about 200,000 tonnes, the industry expects the trend to continue.

As per the report, the total crude steel production increased from last year’s 81.4 MT to 89 MT during the period (an increase of about 9 %). While the export of finished steel increased from 3.7 MT to 6.62 MT, the imports came down from 10.7 MT to 6.59 MT. Interestingly, the total steel consumption also increased from 73.7 MT to 76.2 MT during this period.

Even as many countries are reporting downward trend, the growth of the Indian steel sector has been on the positive side. The country had superseded the US in 2015 to become the third largest steel producing country after China and Japan. And now it is close to acquiring the second position in crude steel production if it continues with the current growth rate. It is behind second largest steel producer Japan by about 9 MT.

In 2016 (January-December), the world crude steel production reached 1,628.5 MT, which was up by only 0.8 % compared to 2015, as per a report of the World Steel Association. China’s share of world crude steel production increased from 49.4% to 49.6%. However, Japan’s production (104.8 MT) was down by -0.3 %. But India’s production was 95.6 MT, up by 7.4%.

The increase in steel production has been possible following the Centre’s aggressive measures to help domestic steel industry, as a result of which total steel imports have started coming down. Besides levying Minimum Import Price (MIP) on many items, the government also imposed Anti-Dumping Duty on hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel products.

“This is a matter of great satisfaction for the industry as not only production is increasing, but imports are coming down. The government measures are bearing fruits. We hope that the government will continue to support us,” said a steel company official.

Many Indian steel companies like Essar Steel, Steel Authority of India Limited and JSW Steel had jointly filed an application before the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, headed by Nirmala Sitharaman, for initiation of anti-dumping investigation concerning imports.

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