Government to fix minimum import price for steel products soon

11 December 2015

The government is soon expected to fix a minimum import price (MIP) for steel products to protect the domestic industry from cheap inbound shipments.

The ministries of Commerce and Steel, which are discussing the matter, have proposed a floor price for over 30 products below which imports into the country would not be allowed, sources said.

"Both the ministries have been holding meeting since the last several days to finalise the number of items which should be included in the MIP list," they said.

The steel ministry had asked for 35 to 40 products including pig iron, semi-finished products and cold-rolled coils. But the Commerce Ministry has asked them to prune the list.

The move comes amidst the domestic steel industry facing a tough situation due to cheap imports from countries such China, Japan, South Korea, and Russia among others.

The steel companies, which have taken huge loans for capacity expansion, are under severe stress as cheap imports are eating into their domestic share.

The government's move to impose MIP comes even as it is considering safeguard duty on certain steel imports.

SAIL, Essar Steel, JSW SteelBSE 1.29 % and Jindal Steel & Power moved the Directorate General of Safeguard for imposing levy on imports of 'hot-rolled flat sheets and plates of alloy or non-alloy steel' to "protect the domestic producers" from increased imports.

In September, the government imposed a provisional safeguard duty of 20 per cent on import of hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy steel, which was in vogue for 200 days.

In August, the government had hiked import duty on base metals, including iron and steel, by 2.5 per cent, in a move aimed at helping domestic players battle out cheap Chinese imports after the currency devaluation by China.

In June, India also slapped anti-dumping duty of up to USD 316 per tonne on imports of certain steel products from three countries, including China.