Govt to set up panel under DGFT to look at steel availability for engineering exporters

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Published: May 12, 2019 1:01:26 PM

The government has decided to set up a committee under the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to look into availability of steel at competitive prices for engineering goods exporters, an official said.

Engineering goods exporters are demanding that they should get steel at global prices as domestic rates are higher. (Representational photo: Reuters/ File)

The government has decided to set up a committee under the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to look into availability of steel at competitive prices for engineering goods exporters, an official said. “The committee will submit its report to steel and commerce ministries within two months. It will suggest measures which will be a win-win situation for both steel producers and engineering exporters,” the official added.

Engineering goods exporters are demanding that they should get steel at global prices as domestic rates are higher. However, steel producers state that freight charges and cost of production is high in the country, which push up prices. The decision to set up the committee, which will also have members from the engineering sector, was taken during a meeting last week between the senior officials of steel and commerce ministries and exporters.

In that meeting, engineering players said steel should be made available at competitive rates so that outbound shipments can be pushed further. Another official said that if steel prices are “so high, then how are engineering exports recording healthy growth rate”.

The country’s engineering exports rose by 6.36 per cent to USD 83.7 billion in 2018-19 from USD 78.7 billion in 2017-18. These exports accounts for over 25 per cent of the country’s total merchandise exports, which stood at USD 331 billion last fiscal. Shipments to North America and Europe constitute about 40 per cent of the total engineering exports. Engineering exports include transport equipment, capital goods, other machinery/equipment and light engineering products like castings, forgings and fasteners.

According to a report of the World Steel Association (worldsteel), India’s crude steel production in 2018 was at 106.5 million tonnes, up by 4.9 per cent from 101.5 million tonnes in 2017. Since 2011-12, India’s exports have been hovering at around USD 300 billion. During 2017-18, the shipments aggregated at USD 303 billion. Promoting exports helps a country to create jobs, boost manufacturing and earn more foreign exchange.

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