After imposing anti-dumping duties on select steel products (more such imposts are likely soon), the steel and commerce ministries have decided to speed up the process of filing petitions, gathering evidence, conducting investigation and awarding anti-dumping duty, so that protective barriers can be promptly erected for the domestic industry.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an industry summit here, steel secretary Aruna Sharma said the ministry was studying various models available across the globe to ensure that the relief mechanisms are the fastest, quickest and the best. “It has to be a balanced model that brings quick relief,” she said.
It generally takes between three and six months in India, from filing a petition to awarding anti-dumping duty, while in places such as the US and the European Union, it takes two to two-and-a-half months. Stating that the current procedure of invoking anti-dumping duty is a “very complex” one, the secretary said the steel ministry plans to start the homework next week and has set an internal target of complete the process in the next two months. She also said protecting the industry from onslaught of cheaper imports through anti-dumping duty and safeguard duty as minimum import price (MIP) is a short-term measure, more like an SOS.
Last week, the government extended the MIP on steel products by two months, but pruned the list from 173 products to 66. It is reported that the rest of the products will be brought under anti-dumping duty, which is a better protectionism measure.
Earlier this week, the government imposed anti-dumping duty on hot-rolled flat products aimed at protecting the domestic steel industry from predatory dumping from specified producers in China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia for six months. It is also likely to impose anti-dumping duty on imports of certain cold-rolled steel products from China, Japan, Korea and Ukraine.
The government has already taken a series of measures aimed at bailing out the domestic steel industry, reeling under severe stress for the last two years due to imports at predatory prices, subdued demand and poor prices.
It raised the rate of basic customs on both flat and non-flat steel to 15% from 10% in the Budget for 2016-17 and hiked import duty in August 2015 on flat steel from 10% to 12.5%, long steel from 7.5% to 10%, and semi-finished steel from 7.5% to 10%.
The government had also imposed in June 2015 an anti-dumping duty for five years on imports of certain variety of hot-rolled flat products of stainless steel from China ($309 per tonne), Korea ($180 per tonne) and Malaysia ($316 per tonne). Further, safeguard duty of 20% was imposed in March 2016 on hot-rolled flat products of non-alloy and other alloy steel, on coils of width of 600 mm or more.
The MIP, which was imposed in February for six months, yielded results for the domestic steel industry even as they alleged instances of circumvention. Imports started falling and with this, the domestic industry’s sales also started picking up, and prices have been on the rise. But after correcting positively till May, steel prices became very volatile.
There had been an around 34% fall in domestic steel prices between April, 2014 to January 2016, on a par with the decline in international prices largely on account of the China factor.