Steel imports have considerably decreased in the last three years.
Kolkata: Leading steel consumers and various associations are up in arms against the Centre over the imposition of 25 per cent safeguard duty on imports of a wide range of steel items on the ground that safeguard duty would make imports costlier for users and lead to a few steel mills dominating, creating a monopolistic market in India. Besides, SMEs and MSMEs would be the worst sufferers from this, these bodies feel.
The organisations, which are virtually on a warpath against the government on the issue include CAMIT, TSSIA, FAI, COSIA, SWMAI, SUFI, Hooghly Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Steel Chamber of India, Federation of Industries of India, to name a few.
Interestingly, the India’s total imports of steels are hardly 6 per cent of the total gross production in the country. As per WTO rules, safeguard measures are defined as “Emergency” actions in response to large-scale increase in imports or a surge in imports. But the ground reality is that imports have considerably decreased in the last three years as a result of a series of various protective measures, both tariff and non-tariff based that were announced for various steel items since September 2015. The total imports were merely 4.68 per cent of total production as of May 2019.
With 12.5 per cent of basic customs duty on most flat products, like HRC, plus a surcharge of 10 per cent, imports from most countries like China, Europe and the CIS has become unviable and substantially declined. A significant portion of the imports comprises grades, sizes and quality that is not available sufficiently or timely in India or of finished goods for export purpose.