Domestic steel companies to urge Centre for anti-dumping duty revision

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Primary domestic steel producers will ask the government for a mid-term review of the anti-dumping duty on hot- and cold-rolled steel products in the wake of a sharp rise in raw material prices since the duty was imposed in August 2016. 

“The raw material price increase from August 2016 to March 2018 has been significant and India needs to correct this gap by revising the duty upward to the extent that it reflects the cost push,” one of the petitioners of anti-dumping told Business Standard on Monday.

Essar Steel, state-owned Steel Authority of India, and Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel had jointly filed a petition to the government, seeking for relief from cheap imports being dumped by neighbouring countries such as Korea, Japan, China, Brazil, Russia and Ukraine. The application was also supported by Bhushan Steel and Tata Steel.

“We are yet to formally go the government. The process is that we need to provide relevant data and that exercise is currently on at our end,” said the petitioner.

The petitioners had first approached the government for imposition of the anti-dumping duty in 2015 with a reference period of July-December 2015. The anti-dumping notification, which came in August 2016 is for five years and imposed on 47 products, ranging from $478 per tonne to $561 per tonne.

Apart from the raw material cost push, the move by the petitioners has also come amid US President Donald Trump’s decision to raise tariffs on imported steel that poses a threat of increased dumping on India from countries such as South Korea as trade patterns are expected to get affected. 

“Our anti-dumping numbers are very low today and they have been breached long back. India has to ensure that we get level playing field and no dumping happens. India's steel exports to the US are not much but what is important is that we have to be careful about the amount of Asian steel (other Asian countries) going to the US, which can come to India. Whether there is a risk to get that part of steel is something we need to be cognisant of because we already have FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with these countries and we do not want to be faced with certain dumping. We must be conscious about it,” said Jayant Acharya, director commercial at JSW Steel.

Anti-dumping duties are not a measure to halt imports or cause an unjustified increase in the cost of products but are taken to ensure fair trade and provide a level-playing field to the domestic steel industry. 

“We should also look at providing policy impetus for encouraging use of indigenous steel for value-add within the country and their export. This will enhance capacity utilisation within the country and also provide a multiplier effect to various sectors of the economy besides avoiding foreign exchange outgo on steel imports,”  said H Shivram Krishnan, director, commercial, Essar Steel.

According to Joint Plant Committee data, during April-January, the country's crude steel production stood at 84.42 million tonne, up 4.2 per cent from same period last year. In the period under review, imports to the country were up 5.5 per cent while exports were up 40 per cent. Consumption was up 5.4 per cent on a year-on-year basis at 72.49 million tonne.

Currently, Indian steel prices are around $650 per tonne while that in the US is close to $900 per tonne. Europe steel is at about $750 per tonne and so is South Korea and some other Asian countries, said industry officials.

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