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  • Steel Min rejects industry demand for import curbs

    Published on August 7, 2010

    Rejecting industry’s call for policy intervention to curb imports, the Steel Ministry has said it was not in favour of increasing duties or subjecting the sector to “license raj”.

    After a meeting with officials of leading steel makers like SAIL, Essar Steel and JSW Steel in New Delhi on Friday, Steel Secretary Atul Chaturvedi said imports have not reached such an “alarming” stage as to warrant restrictions or duty hikes.

    “I have not reached at conclusion (after examining) the 2-3 months data which was provided that there is a case for curbing imports,” he said.

    According to the provisional data of the ministry, imports surged by 66 percent to 3.66 million tonnes in April-July, 2010 over the same period a year-ago.

    Industry is demanding that inward shipments be restricted through hiking duty on certain products, while subjecting some steel of them to stricter licensing regime.

    “I don’t want License Raj in the sector,” Chaturvedi said.

    He said the import of seven lakh tonne of HR-coil was not a big number. “We can’t keep changing our import-export policy every 2-3 months,” Chaturvedi added.

    HR-coil, a major component used by the industry, falls under the “free” import category.

    Chaturvedi, however, suggested to the industry that if they could knock on the doors of Commerce Ministry for restrictive import duties like anti-dumping or safeguard.

    “(Industry) can approach Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties or the Directorate General of Safeguards…,” he said.

    On Tuesday, steel makers met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma but failed to get any assurances, sources said.

    On the alleged injury to the industry due to the imports, Chaturvedi said the domestic production was growing by 4-5 percent but the demand was increasing at a higher pace.

    The imports would fill the gap between demand and supply, said the secretary who would retire on 31st August.

    Additional Secretary in Department of Personnel, P K Mishra, would replace Chaturvedi