Safe­guard duty on HR coils to stay

The Financial Express - - ECONOMY - Surya Sarathi Ray

New Delhi, March 28: Safe­guard duty on HR coils, which is aimed at pro­vid­ing cush­ion to the do­mes­tic steel­mak­ers to guard them against surg­ing im­ports, mainly from China, Korea, Ja­pan and Rus­sia, is go­ing to stay, at least till March 2018, sources said.

This is be­cause im­ports of HR coil may have come down in re­cent times fol­low­ing the im­po­si­tion of the safe­guard duty and sub­se­quently due to the levy of min­i­mum im­port duty (MIP) at $445/tonne, the year-on-year num­bers are still high. HR coil im­ports have gone up by 73.4% dur­ing the April-Fe­bru­ary pe­riod of the cur­rent fis­cal at over 3 MT com­pared to 1.7 MT dur­ing the same pe­riod a year ago.

As is known, a pro­vi­sional safe­guard duty, at 20%, on the bench­mark steel prod­uct was im­posed on Septem­ber 14 last year for 200 days. It was sched­uled to ex­pire on April 4 this year.

Do­mes­tic prices for HR Coil, now hov­er­ing around ` 32-33,000 per tonne, are slightly cheaper than the cur­rent im­port prices now, in­dus­try sources said. As a re­sult of the im­po­si­tion of MIP, no HR coil can come to In­dia at a price be­low $445 a tonne. The di­rec­tor general of safe­guards has re­cently rec­om­mend a 20% safe­guard duty on HR coil till Septem­ber 2016, 18% till March 2017, 15% till Septem­ber 2017 and 10% till March 2018.

Sources in the steel min­istry said the no­ti­fi­ca­tion from the finance min­istry is ex­pected to come lat­est by Fri­day. The move would help all ma­jor play­ers pro­duc­ing long prod­ucts such as SAIL, Tata Steel, RINL and JSW Steel. Safe­guard duty is prod­uct-spe­cific and coun­try-spe­cific. Thus, it would be ap­pli­ca­ble for im­ports from any coun­try.

Con­sid­ered the bench­mark steel prod­uct, HR coil is largely im­ported by traders and for­eign firms like Posco and oth­ers, which process im­ported HR coil to sell them in cus­tomised forms as per the re­quire­ment of the cus­tomers in the In­dian mar­ket. Of the 9.3 MTPA steel im­ports last fis­cal, more than a quar­ter were that of HR coils, sheets and plates.

In­dia had im­ported 2.34 MT HR coil in en­tire 2010-11, 1.81 MT in 2011-12, 1.87 MT in 2012-13, 1.1 MT in 2013-14 and 2.0 MT last fis­cal.

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