Centre gives steel importers more time to bring in registered quantities

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on April 01, 2020 Published on April 01, 2020

Demand by engineering goods sector for dismantling of steel import monitoring system not being considered at the moment, say officials

Taking into account the delay in imports because of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Centre has decided to give more time to steel importers to bring in the quantities that they have registered till now with the government under the steel import monitoring system.

The user industry, including engineering goods exporters, however, had also been demanding that the steel import monitoring system be totally done away with as they found it tedious and time consuming, but the government does not seem ready to oblige.

“The Commerce and Industry Ministry had been receiving representations from users of imported steel, including engineering goods producers, stating that the registrations made for import of steel may not be met within the time stipulated by the government because of the ongoing lockdown in the country and various other markets. They demanded that they be given a reasonable period of time for imports,” a government official told BusinessLine.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) decided to give a one-time relaxation by extending the validity of all automatic registration numbers generated till March 31, 2020, for a period of 60 days beyond the 75-day period allowed in ordinary circumstances.

“Going by the new DGFT order, importers of steel can use the automatic registration numbers generated till March 31, 2020, for a total period of 135 days instead of 75 days,” the official said.

The Centre launched the steel import monitoring system in September 2019 to ensure advance information on steel imports is provided to importers, exporters and the government, so that policy interventions can be made where necessary.

Monitoring to continue

“There has been a demand by engineering goods exporters that the steel import monitoring system be done away with, as it slowed them down and also consumed resources, but the Steel Ministry is strongly in favour of the system and it cannot be withdrawn without inter-ministerial consultations,” the official said.

The monitoring of steel imports is considered essential as domestic steel producers have been seeking government protection against rising imports amid shrinking domestic demand and increasing restrictions in global markets.

Steel imports, however, declined by over 8 per cent in the first 11 months of FY20, and are expected to have declined further in March because of the pandemic-led disruption in global supplies.

Published on April 01, 2020

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