The Indian Steel Association (ISA) — a body of integrated steel makers of the country that include the likes of JSW, Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel, SAIL and others — has sought ministerial intervention on account of the rising steel imports. Steel mills are seeking a reimposition of anti-dumping duties on select popular products like coated hot rolled flat steel products, cold rolled flat steel products, colour coated flat steel and wire rods.
It has been pointed out that most of these items are being imported in large numbers, with category-wise shipments going up between 17 and 74 per cent over the last one year. Imports, primarily coming in from countries such as China, Korea, Japan, and Russia have skewed the prices affecting domestic price realisation.
“....We request the Steel Ministry to support the industry by writing to the Ministry of Finance to reinstate anti-dumping duty on hot rolled flat steel products, cold rolled flat steel products, colour coated flat steel products and wire rod of alloy or non-alloy steel,” it said in letter addressed to the Steel Secretary.
Incidentally this is not the first time the ISA is getting alarmed by the rising imports.
A previous representation was made to the Ministry of Finance, which was apparently shot down. Sources said, four sunset review investigations were conducted in 2021 by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) across these categories. The ISA in its letter says that the Ministry of Finance “decided not to accept the recommendations of the Designated Authority in the final findings.”
Anti-dumping duty on hot rolled flat steel and cold rolled flat steel products expired on December 15 2021; while that on colour coated flat steel products and wire rod expired on January 13 2022 and January 31 2022, respectively. The five year anti-dumping duty (2016 -21) across these products covered offerings coming in from China, Japan, Korea, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Ukraine and European Union
Provisional numbers available with Steel Ministry show (steel) exports halving y-o-y to 6.7 million tonnes(mt) in FY23, while imports rose nearly 30 per cent to 6 mt.
Ministry of Commerce data show that during April-January FY23, incoming shipments of HR coils, sheets and plates saw the highest y-o-y increase of 74 per cent to 2 mt. Colour coated coil and sheet shipments coming in rose 46 per cent to 0.22 mt — the second highest imported offering. Wire rod shipments coming in went up 24 per cent y-o-y to 0.06 mt while for cold rolled coil and sheet imports were up 17 per cent to 0.5 mt.
“Implementation of price based anti-dumping duty on four steel products would help in preventing further decline in import prices and would stop exporters from gradually wiping out the domestic steel industry by dictating prices,” the ISA said.
It further pointed out that the domestic industry is facing intensified competition from low-priced imports of steel. Imports are also up because of slowdown in other key buyer markers like across Europe and the USA. “This intensified competition is at a time when the input costs for domestic steel industry have risen,” the letter said.
Raw material Price
The association has also requested for consideration of ad-valorem anti-dumping duty on imports by taking current prices of input raw materials, as prices of input raw materials were at their lowest level in 2016, as compared to current levels.
For instance, the price of iron ore fines (iron content of 64 per cent) — bought from NMDC — was ₹1,685/tonne in 2016, against ₹5,167/tonne in FY22 and ₹3,579/tonne in FY23. Similarly, coking coal prices were at $88.87/tonne in FY16 as against $337.67/tonne and $351.08/tonne in FY22 and FY23 respectively.
“The current price of iron ore is more than two times and coking coal is 3.95 times as compared to FY16. Thus reference based anti-dumping duty notified in 2016 also needs correction,” a steel-maker explained.