‘Sort out internal issues before pushing for import curbs’

Debabrata Das Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 16, 2018

PIYUSH GOYAL, Mines Minister

Mines Ministry takes firm line with aluminium industry

The Mines Ministry wants aluminium users, secondary producers and aluminium manufacturers to settle their differences before it starts discussions with other government departments to curb imports of the metal.

“Over the last week, I have had meetings with the Aluminium Association of India, All India Aluminium Utensils Manufacturers and Aluminium Secondary Manufacturers Association. I want them to first sort out issues amongst themselves,” said Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Mines, Coal, Power and New & Renewable Energy.

Aluminium manufacturers have sought a curb in imports through a minimum import price (MIP) being levied on the metal, similar to the relief that was given to the steel industry. However, the user industry and secondary manufacturers who use a lot of imports have opposed any such moves.

“There are options open to us apart from MIP as well. We can raise the import duty. That is something we have to decide. What is clear is that the domestic manufacturing industry has to be protected and promoted,” said Goyal.

Commerce Ministry officials said the Ministry is yet to be asked for its views on the possible imposition of an MIP, but it would not be in favour of such a measure. “We believe that imposition of MIP is not in line with WTO rules. We had informed the Steel Ministry of the same when our opinion was sought on the issue of imposition of MIP on steel,” an official said.

Existing compaints

With WTO members already complaining about India’s MIP on steel, it would be more difficult to do it in the case of aluminium. “India is already under the WTO’s scanner because of steel. Imposing the same measure on MIP would weaken India’s position further,” the official added.

Last week, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of Hindalco Industries, one of India’s largest aluminium makers, told shareholders that the sharp increase in imports of aluminium will continue to impact domestic sales.

Published on September 21, 2016

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