QRs On Ore Exports May Be Relaxed

New Delhi, Sept 17: | Updated: Sep 18 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Centre may relax the quantitative restrictions in export of ore with higher grade iron content including lumps and fines currently canalised through MMTC, a super star trading house.

It is understood that a proposal in this regard forwarded by the steel ministry is under active consideration of the commerce ministry and soon it would be given a go ahead.

According to sources in the steel ministry, this has been done to exploit the growing export opportunity to China which has poor quality iron ore and is forced to import as much as 20 per cent of its iron ore requirements.

Under the proposal, the steel ministry had sought abolition of restrictions in export of ore with greater than 64 per cent iron content especially from Bailadila mines as well as high iron content lumps and fines from Bellary-Hospet sector currently canalised through MMTC.

The issue has been discussed at length in a recent meeting of joint working group on steel with China at Beijing, the sources divulged.

The joint working has been constituted to promote and enhance bilateral trade in the steel sector.

When contacted the union minister for steel BK Tripathy confirmed, The issue came up for discussion with Chinese authorities during my visit in May this year as the protectionist measures imposed by some advanced countries have virtually closed such markets to Indian finished steel.

The initiative would prove a crucial factor for Indian steel industry since China of late has emerged as a major importer of steel and iron ore of greater iron content, Mr Tripathy said.

The proposal once cleared will give a big boost to domestic iron and steel industry which exports 33 million tonnes of its production annually and will register an increase of 7 per cent per annum the executive director of Essar Steel, PR Dhariwal said.

During the first quarter of the current fiscal, exports grew by 37.7 per cent.

He said Chinese imports accounted for 20 per cent of world iron ore exports. Of the total 500 million tonnes of the total global exports, Chinas imports stand at a whopping 110 million tonnes.

The pace at which the construction activities are going in the dragon land, the chinese imports may reach in the vicinity of 175 million tonnes by the year 2005. Due to locational advantage with China, India benefits from lower freight costs.

With the Governments easing its exports norms for the sector, the exports are expected to rise sharply.

India has 13,000 million tonnes of iron ore reserves and produces 86 million tonnes of iron ores annually.