Focus must be on improving fundamentals of industry instead of duty hikes: Steel Secretary

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on October 09, 2018

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The Steel Ministry’s focus is on strengthening the fundamentals of the industry and not on calls for hiking anti-dumping duties in the light of steel price fluctuations in the international market.

Referring to calls to revise anti-dumping duties, Secretary, Ministry of Steel, Binoy Kumar, told BusinessLine, “These are matters which keep happening. The prices move up and down frequently. I think we should not concentrate too much on that. We should concentrate on the basics of our industry, the issue of raw materials and logistics.”

Kumar was speaking on the sidelines of the International Conference on Minerals & Metals Outlook 2030.

In July, representatives of domestic steel manufacturers said they feared the existing anti-dumping measures in India are inadequate as global prices of steel have risen considerably.

‘Duty is ineffective’

In April 2017, the Directorate-General of Anti-Dumping under the Ministry of Commerce had issued a final recommendation to fix the import price of hot rolled coil at $489 a tonne, hot rolled plates and sheets at $561 a tonne and cold rolled coils at $576 a tonne.

The price of hot rolled coil was hovering at around $600 a tonne at that time, while the anti-dumping duty was $489 a tonne. Since the import price was higher, the duty imposed was ineffective. Dumping duty is the price difference between the landed cost and the price indicated by the Centre. Speaking at a public function later in July, Union Minister for Steel, Chaudhary Birender Singh, said, “Industry representatives have told me that globally the prices of steel have come down by ₹7,000 -8,000 a tonne over the last 15-20 days. This is on the back of building up of overcapacity and the prices are likely to remain under pressure.”

“The prices will keep fluctuating and I do not want to get into that,” Kumar added.

Steel policy

Kumar said the focus should be on strengthening the existing National Steel Policy 2017 to ensure that the country achieves the goal of having a crude steel capacity of 300 million tonnes (mt) by 2030.

“This means that we will ensure that the policy is altered to meet the requirements for boosting steel production. We cannot expect to have a rigid policy for 10 years. If there are some mid-term changes we should be dynamic enough to change,” he said.

Commenting on some of the options being evaluated to support the industry, Kumar said, “There is a requirement for coking coal. That’s a very important constituent of steel making. We definitely need to look into that.”

“We are in talks to salvage coking coal from the Jharia coal mines. We have to work with the Ministry of Coal to come out with some kind of solution. We have to do that with a sense of urgency,” he added.

Published on October 09, 2018

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