The Indian Steel Association (ISA) has proposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties are restored on certain imports of finished steel.

Among these is the countervailing duty on some hot and cold rolled stainless steel flat products from China. It also wants anti-dumping duties on imports of aluminium and zinc coated flat products originating in or exported from China, Vietnam and Korea, and on straight-length alloy bar and rod imports from China. It has asked the finance ministry to restore these measures by 31 January, Kallanish notes.

These duties were all suspended 12 months ago to help steel users amid then surging prices (see Kallanish passim).

ISA has also requested the ministry extend anti-dumping duties on hot-rolled, cold-rolled and colour-coated flat steel, as well as wire rod, in order to safeguard the domestic steel industry from “dumped imports at predatory prices”. Authorities revoked these measures earlier this month.

"ISA's submission to the government ahead of the union budget has covered a wide spectrum of concerns of the Indian steel players,” says ISA secretary general Alok Sahay. “Our memorandum highlights the issues that need to be resolved for the steel sector to grow from the current installed capacity of 144 million tonnes to 300mt, as laid down by the National Steel Policy unveiled in 2017.”

“Reduction and rationalisation of certain duties along with certain policy measures will help create a level playing field in the global arena, especially in a context where two thirds of imports from countries having an FTA with India arrive at zero basic customs duty, who do not incur similar costs. We humbly request the finance ministry to consider our memorandum and hope that the government intervenes with the required measures,” Sahay adds.

The association has also proposed zero duties on imports of coking coal, stainless scrap and nickel on the grounds of the low availability of these products in India. It suggests bringing petrol, oil, and natural gas under the purview of the goods and service tax (GST).

ISA proposes waiving the coal cess and/or refunding the input tax credit (ITC) on GST compensation cess of INR 400/tonne ($5.37) of coal consumed for domestic steel sales. The association is also seeking the removal of the lesser duty rule (LDR), inclusion of iron and steel in the RoDTEP scheme, and the Steel Import Monitoring System (SIMS) connection to the IceGate customs portal.

“As a vital contributor to the economy, the steel industry looks forward to the Union Budget 2022-23 for more fund allocation and the front loading for government infrastructure projects that will augment the metal’s demand, apart from zero import duty on input raw materials for a level playing field,” says ISA president Dilip Oommen.

“These measures are imperative to promote domestic production that will give a much-needed push for self-reliance or ‘Atmanirbharta’, besides providing an edge against foreign steel manufacturers,” Oommen concludes.