To help the steel industry recover from the impact of cheaper imports of select products, the Directorate General of Safeguards in the Central Board of Excise and Customs has recommended extending the duty on hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy steel in coils of a width of 600 mm or more until March 2018. Its notification on Wednesday said increased imports of the product had caused serious injury to domestic producers and the recommendation was in the public interest.
The duty was first imposed in September 2015, a 30 per cent provisional one. Now, suggests DGS, it should be 20 per cent ad valorem (minus anti-dumping duty, if any) till September. In the following year, 18 per cent ad valorem till March 2017, then 15 per cent till September 2017 and in the final six months, 10 per cent.
“The domestic industry's market share and profitability had sharply declined from the base year till 2015-16, whereas market share of imports increased,” said the notification.
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It agreed there would be a negative impact on downstream industry from the safeguard duty, as the product was their raw material. However, it said, the duty would ensure end-users got stable supply from domestic industry.
Primary producers such as JSW Steel, Tata Steel, Jindal Steel & Power,Steel Authority of India and Essar Steel would benefit from an extension. The industry is already enjoying benefits from imposition of a minimum import price on a wide range of products. This move in February had also prompted producers to raise prices in March; they're expected to raise prices further in the coming months.