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Saturday, March 07, 2015
STEEL CONTINUES TO FEEL THE HEAT
5 March, 2015: Steel companies expecting protection against the onslaught of cheaper imports were disappointed. Though the Government has made a provision to increase the peak customs duty on steel imports to 15 per cent from 10 per cent, it retained the current rate at 10 per cent.
Rajiv Rajvanshi, Senior Vice-President (Corporate Strategy), Jindal Stainless said the proposed hike in peak rate of custom duty on iron and steel would allow the government to increase custom duty, but will not provide immediate relief to the sector which is reeling under huge surge in imports mainly from China.
Steel imports into the country had surged 17.5 per cent to 6.57 million tonne in the first 10 months of this fiscal. China, ranked among the largest exporters, shipped 1.49 million tonnes, accounting for 23 per cent of the total imports into India.
With the rising cost and falling demand, steel companies have to overcome the onslaught of cheap imports into the country and sought anti-dumping duty.
In a bid to ease the pressure on raw material sourcing, the special additional duty on melting scrap of iron and steel including scrap of stainless steel, copper, brass and aluminium to two per cent from four per cent.
The reduction of basic customs duty on bituminous coal to 10 per cent to 55 per cent comes as major relief for the metal companies which are fighting a pitched battle for coal blocks that are being auctioned.
However, customs duty on metallurgical coke was doubled to five per cent. This should have an impact on the operational cost of steel company as they are dependent on imports completely.