Orissa opposes move to relax iron ore export norms

Written by fe Bureau | Bhubaneswar | Updated: Jun 26 2013, 09:53am hrs
The Orissa government joined the chorus against the Centre's move to relax norms to boost iron ore exports to improve its current account deficit (CAD) position.

"We will oppose the Centre's to move to encourage iron ore exports, said the state steel & mines minister Rajani Kanta Singh. He said the state is against the export of the mineral resources as it would starve the local industries of raw materials. Singh demanded a complete ban on the export of the iron ore.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industries of India (Assocham) is against the Centre relaxing restrictions on iron ore exports. Any relaxation in export restrictions on iron ore will adversely impact the prospects of Indias steel industry that is already reeling under severe crisis due to non-availability of iron ore for last couple of years due to suspension of mining in Karnataka and Goa by the Supreme Court. There are also restrictions on undertaking mining activities in Orissa by the state government, said the Assocham in a communication to finance minister P Chidambaram.

Assocham urged the Centre to make iron ore available to steel producers instead of exporting the same as they are operating at lower capacity utilisation as it would also help reduce steel imports, mainly from Japan and Korea, who under the garb of the Foreign Trade Agreement (FTA), are dumping their cheap steel into India. Considering the rising steel demand, domestic industry is likely to consume almost all iron ore fines, lumps and sub-grade material produced in the country and might even have to import iron ore to fulfill their demand as such it wont be a wise decision to relax closure on iron ore exports, said DS Rawat, national secretary-general of Assocham.

We can control CAD by reducing imports of finished steel and coking coal as India imported about eight million tonne (MT) of finished steel and about 35 MT of coking coal worth about $5 billion and $7 billion, respectively, said Rawat.