Safeguard duty on HR coils to stay
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.