Steel firms move Trade Remedy DG seeking 25% safeguard duty on imports

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on June 14, 2019

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) submitted a memorandum calling for India not to sign the mega trade pact.(File photo)

Representatives of the domestic steel sector have moved the Directorate-General of Trade Remedy seeking a 25 per cent anticipatory safeguard duty. This request was flagged by the Steel Ministry officials during a meeting held earlier this week between Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

The steel sector representatives, through the Indian Steel Association, have sought a safeguard duty on steel imports to curtail cross dumping of products after the US and EU set up tariff and quota barriers. The application for the same was moved in February and the DGTR is currently investigating the case, steel sector representatives said.

The products under the purview of the proposed safeguard duty are semis, flats, longs, pipes and tubes, stainless steel and Railway products. The proposed duty is 25 per cent at ad valorem basis and covers most of the steel products manufactured by the domestic industry.

Steel products that are not substantially manufactured in India, including API grade steel and CRGO, are listed as products excluded from this duty.

Prevent circumvention

To plug instances of circumvention of duty by importing marginally different grades of products, the industry has also sought that the entire value chain of products be brought under the ambit of the safeguard duty.

Highlighting the cross dumping into India, the Steel Ministry officials said that exports to the US from China, Japan and South Korea have fallen by 488,000 tonnes in six months since the imposition of the duty barriers by the Trump administration. During the same period, exports from the three countries to India grew by 561,000 tonnes.

“The blanket duty steel import has boosted domestic production in the US and there is a steel surplus of sorts in the American market. In Europe, a nearly 75 per cent of the permissible steel import quota for the financial year has already been booked,” sector representatives told BusinessLine.

These anticipatory safeguard measures are permissible under the World Trade Organization.

“The window to book the remaining quota will be opened soon and that too will be lapped up. It is then that we will see a surge of dumping from China, South Korea and Japan into India. So the safeguard duty, to protect the domestic industry, must be in place before this situation arises,” they said.

Published on June 14, 2019

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