Mumbai, Dec. 4: Faced with a scenario of high non-tariff barriers imposed by most steel-producing nations, domestic majors represented by the Indian Steel Alliance (ISA) has asked the government to maintain status quo on customs duties for the metal.
In its budgetary proposals, the ISA pointed out that countries like USA, EU, Canada and China have laid stiff ad-valorem and countervailing duties. This has been followed by retaliatory actions by countries like Mexico, which raised steel tariffs to 25 per cent from 13-18 per cent. Similarly, Thailand imposed a surcharge on steel imports while duties on hot rolled coils were raised to 35 per cent.
In a scenario where there is more than adequate domestic supply in every steel item barring special steel categories, and there is an unabated flow of imports of low-priced prime, the government should not consider lowering customs duties, an industry source told The Telegraph. He said while total duties levied by the US stood approximately at 85 per cent, countries like China and Thailand had duties of 20.3 per cent and 35 per cent on HR coils. On the other hand, the ad-valorem duty on HR coil imports from Russia and Ukraine into India was 25 per cent. The ISA has here suggested that the government introduce an import surveillance mechanism and restrict imports of few categories through the Paradip and Kochi ports.