SME engineering exporters protest duty on steel imports

11 September 2015

Government's proposal to impose 20 per cent safeguard duty on certain steel imports is a "death knell" for small and medium exporters, engineering exporters' body EEPC said today.

The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) has cautioned the government about "these measures spelling a death knell for millions of SME exporters who will have to bear the high cost of basic raw material while the benefit of the same would be reaped by the big corporates".

The body in a statement said that cost of SME players will rise by at least 15 per cent and this would make their products uncompetitive globally.

The Directorate General (DG) of Safeguards has suggested a provisional 20 per cent safeguard duty for a period of 200 days on the common variety of hot rolled coil steel.

Recommendations of the DGS to impose safeguard duty should be rejected, it said, adding "or else, lakhs of jobs in the SMEs would be sacrificed for the sake of helping the large and powerful steel manufacturers".

Imports of flat-rolled products of iron and steel have fallen from $ 1.8 billion in 2012-13 to $ 1.4 billion in 2014-15, it added.