With an aim to provide relief to domestic producers and curb imports, the government on Monday announced to impose 20% provisional safeguard duty on certain categories of steel, including hot-rolled flat products.
“Over the last few weeks, there has been a surge in steel imports... this surge results in injury to the domestic production,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said.
A finance ministry statement said that the directorate general of safeguards had initiated investigations into matter, and issued a preliminary finding last week recommending imposition of provisional safeguard duty at the rate of 20% ad-valorem, for a period of 200 days on hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy, and other alloy steel in coils with width of 600 mm or more.
“The central government after examination has accepted the findings of DG (Safeguard),” the statement said.
Steel imports have increased particularly from countries such as China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.
Import of iron and steel increased 58% during the April-June period of the current financial year. The steel sector is among the top five sectors, which have led to increasing the non-performing assets of the banks.
While an import duty of 12.5% applies to steel imports from China, it does not apply to Korea and Japan, since India has bilateral free-trade pacts with these nations.
Domestic steel companies had highlighted their problems, and urged Jaitley to take steps to block cheaper imports. The steel producers also asked the government for relaxing norms on loans for stressed steel projects.