Friday, October 09, 2015

Aluminium producers demand safeguard duty on imports
BHUBANESHWAR, 6 Oct, 2015: Domestic aluminium producers such as Vedanta, Hindalco and Nalco are urging the government to impose a safeguard duty on aluminium imports as was done in the case of some steel products, due to falling international prices and increasing production costs.

Aluminium Association India (AAI) representatives plan to meet revenue secretary Hasmukh Adhia on Friday to push their case.

"We are confident of taking up our case of safeguard duty on specific aluminium products, which is in line with what the government has done for the steel industry," said Abhijit Pati, CEO at Vedanta Aluminium.

The Narendra Modi government had recently imposed a 20% provisional safeguard duty on hot-rolled flat steel products for 200 days.

AAI said aluminium deserves to be treated as a core industry, at par with steel. At present, imports account for 55% of aluminium consumption in the country. Prices of the aluminium on the London Metal Exchange had fallen 42% since its peak in April 2011 to $1,540 a tonne in August, according to data shared by the association.

At the same time, cost of production for AAI members has risen 29%.

Vedanta has already shut down a rolling mill of Balco in Chhattisgarh due to lack of availability of viable bauxite supply. Its Odisha refinery, currently running at half its capacity, too could be shut down if things don't improve, officials said.

Vedanta group CEO Tom Albanese, Hindalco deputy MD Satish Pai and state-run Nalco CMD T K Chand had met finance minister Arun Jaitley last month and sought doubling of import duty on all aluminium products to 10% from 5% now.

They had said that while they had invested Rs 1.2 lakh crore to ramp up capacity almost 50% of their installed capacity was lying idle even as their combined debt stood at Rs 70,000 crore.

However, despite aluminium producers' meetings with officials of finance ministry, mines ministry and the Central Board of Excise and Customs, import duty on the metal has yet to be raised.

Post a Comment