No further change to import duty on steel, Finance Ministry

The Finance Ministry has decided to keep the existing import duty on steel unchanged.

The Dollar Business Bureau

Increasing import duty on steel products may increase the raw material cost for other industries using the metal, the Finance Ministry said and decided to keep the existing import duty on steel unchanged. “Further increase in import duty will affect downstream industry. It will raise the price, which in turn will have impact on inflation,” a report quoted a senior Finance Ministry official as saying. The remarks came days after the engineering export promotion council (EEPC) had expressed concern over the import duty on steel. At present, the government levies 10% import duty on flat products of steel and 7.5% on bars. But domestic steel producers have been demanding a hike in the import duty, saying that cheaper imports of the metal from China and other countries are hurting the industry. According to EEPC Chairman Anupam Shah, since steel accounts for half of the total value of engineering products, the government should also increase the duty drawback on the export of engineering goods. The current rate of duty drawback on such goods is 1.9%. India has been witnessing a constant increase in imports of finished steel in the past couple of years. According to the Steel Ministry data, the country's total steel import crossed 9 million tonnes last year from around 6.5 million tonnes in 2010-11. The government data shows that between April 2014 and January this year, the country's steel import reached 8.12 million tonnes and the contribution of Chinese supplies was 2.9 million tonnes, more than 200% up from 9.5 lakh tonnes exported from that country during the same period a year ago. Last month, the government had imposed anti-dumping duties up to $316 per tonne on the import of hot-rolled flat stainless steel and other products from China, Malaysia and South Korea. However, domestic steel producers say the move is not enough to make them competitive in the international market. According to reports, Chines steel manufacturers get up to 15% export subsidy from their government.      

July 23, 2015 | 4:36 pm IST.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jul 23, 2015 12:00 IST