Steel producers seek higher duty on Chinese imports

16 February 2015

With steel ministry's pitch for discouraging imports unheeded, domestic steel companies have made a fresh pitch before the government seeking relief from a sharp import surge, which has hurt profitability and could cost hundreds of jobs in the months ahead.

They have urged the finance ministry to impose higher import duty and put in place anti-dumping measure to stem the surge in steel imports. During the current financial year, India has become a net importer of steel, while it was net exporter year. During the April '14-January '15 period, the total import of steel stood at 8.1 million tonnes against 4.8 million tonnes for the same period last year, a growth of 69%. In calendar 2014, imports from China totalled 2.83 million tonnes compared to 1.25 million tonnes, an increase of 128%.

These numbers come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the ambitious "Make in India" campaign, seeking to bolster domestic manufacturing. "The Indian Steel Association has requested the government to stem the tide of accelerating steel imports into India through a levy of a higher import duty," said C S Verma, chairman SAIL and president of the Indian Steel Association.

Japan, South Korea, Russia and Ukraine have surplus steel capacity and have traditionally exported the commodity. A slowing Chinese economy prompted Beijing to enter this club with surplus capacity of nearly 200 million tons, officials say.