Govt extends minimum import price on 66 iron, steel products for 2 months

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New Delhi: To protect domestic industries from cheap imports, the government has extended the minimum import price (MIP) on 66 steel products for a period of two months as against 173 items earlier.

The MIP ranges between $341-752 per tonne. “MIP for 66 (steel products) is extended till 4 October this year,” director general of foreign trade Anup Wadhawan said in a notification on Thursday. The steel industry had been demanding for extension of the MIP. When asked why the government has reduced the number of products, an official said: “We felt that only these 66 products require protection. The commerce ministry is already investigating dumping of certain steel products.”

The 66 products include semi-finished products of iron or non-alloyed steel, flat-rolled products of different widths, bars and rods. To guard domestic steel producers against cheap in-bound shipments, the government in February had imposed MIP, ranging between $341-752 per tonne, on 173 steel products for a period of six months. On ingots and billets, blooms and slabs, the MIP reads $362, $352 and $341 per tonne, respectively.

On flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel of a width of 600 mm or more, clad plated or coated, the minimum prices will be $643 and $752 per tonne on different items. Similarly, bars and rods, hot-rolled in irregularly wound coils of iron or non-alloy steel, the figure stood at $449 per tonne and $451 per tonne on different products.

Prior to February also, the MIP was imposed for a period of six months. India’s imports of non-alloy steel rose 29.6% between April-December 2015 to 6.34 million tonne. Its total consumption of non-alloy steel stands at 53.166 million tonne. Indian Steel Association has asked the government to extend MIP on steel products, saying its imposition has marginally improved the industry’s viability after a long period of subdued prices.

Accelerating imports of predatory prices from steel surplus countries like China, Japan and Korea has been a major concern for the domestic industry since September 2014. Post the imposition of MIP in February, the industry has been able to marginally improve viability after a long period of subdued prices and eroded profit margins, the association had said.