Govt mulls minimum import price on steel
he government will consider a minimum import price for select steel items, including flat products and stainless steel, besides stricter quality control of all steel imports.
A cabal of top steel makers on Wednesday met steel ministry officials to press their demand for duty protection and quality check on cheap, sub-standard steel which they say is making its way into the country.
Officials said the government was inclined to give them the protection partly because “their case is strong” and partly because in an “election year, Indian industry should not only be protected but seen as being protected”.
They said a committee to fix a minimum import price is being set up. This follows several rounds of hectic lobbying by local majors, including Tata Steel, the Jindals and SAIL.
Local industry claimed the duty walls were not working as a global industry beset by over-capacity was dumping the produce at extremely low prices and were finding new ways to circumvent tariffs.
The minimum import prices, if allowed by the cabinet, will replace the temporary safeguard duties which were set last year, though the basic customs duty will remain, said the officials.
However, the move is likely to raise the hackles of another powerful industrial lobby, that of auto makers who use cheaper imported steel. Car makers and component manufacturers have also been lobbying the finance and the industry ministries for relief from the higher duties on imported metal sheets.