Steel Import Norms Eased

New Delhi, Nov 7: | Updated: Nov 8 2003, 05:30am hrs
The directorate general of foreign trade has finally withdrawn the stipulation (under notification 44) that requires steel importers to get the imports certified by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) before use.

A BIS spokesperson confirmed to FE that steel is now no longer under the purview of notification 44. It can be recalled that the auto component industry had been demanding withdrawal of this notification.

However, following steel minister BK Tripathys statement on Wednesday that the government would not intervene to check soaring steel prices, the auto component industry hopes to meet revenue, finance and commerce secretaries this month to try and take the issue to its next stage.

This is a good thing, and we welcome it. However, the next step should be to rationalise the inverted duty structure, sources at the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (Acma) told FE.

Former Acma president and Hi-Tech Gears managing director Deep Kapuria said, when we call ourselves the cheapest producers of steel in the world, we need to have something to show for it in terms of duties, especially now that we have a free-trade agreement with Thailand which has a far more rationalised duty structure for steel.

An Acma group, including members from Shiram Pistons & Rings, Mico, Bharat Forge, Sona Koyo and Delphi India had met former steel secretary VK Duggal (now replaced by Binoo Sen) on October 15 in this regard.

Shriram Pistons & Rings senior executive director AK Taneja, who led the Acma group spoke to FE from Germany and said, Steel price increase based on the supply-demand situation is an accepted practice. But eight price changes in 18 months and no clarity on long-term prices is disruptive, and not consumer friendly.