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India steel ministry seeks higher duties to deter Chinese imports -document

Fri 21st June, 2019 11:46am
* Seeks immediate increase in import duty on finished steel
to 15%
    * Seeks increase in peak import duty on all steel products
to 25%
    * Says U.S.-China trade war threatens India with Chinese
imports

    By Neha Dasgupta
    NEW DELHI, June 21 (Reuters) - India's steel ministry has
sought an immediate increase in import duties on finished steel
products to 15% from a range of 7.5% to 12.5%, citing a threat
from Chinese imports and excess global capacity, an internal
note reviewed by Reuters showed. 
    The steel ministry has proposed the higher duties as part of
its recommendations to the finance ministry for the upcoming
2019/20 budget that is due out on July 5. 
    "The U.S.-China trade war is threatening Indian markets as
China looks for alternative markets" for its steel exports,
India's steel ministry said. 
    Citing the vulnerability of local mills, the ministry said
the nation's steel sector needs "protection from unfairly traded
cheap steel imports" as well as lower input costs. 
    "Peak rates (for all steel products) may be raised to 25% to
meet any contingency arising from potential adverse global
market turmoil," it said. 
    Existing anti-dumping and countervailing duties have been
rendered ineffective by the volatility in steel prices, the
ministry said. 
    The steel ministry said government revenues could increase
by 13.66 billion rupees ($196.1 million) if the import duties
were implemented, although it is the finance ministry that makes
the final decision. 
    The steel and finance ministries did not immediately reply
to Reuters emails seeking comment. 
    India turned from net exporter to net importer of steel
during the 2018/19 fiscal year as local demand increased and
imports jumped from Japan, Korea and China.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N21U2F8     
    Japan, South Korea and member countries of the Association
of Southeast Asian Nations, which all have free trade agreements
on steel with India, accounted for 58% of its imports of the
alloy, while 18% of its incoming steel came from China. 
    Reuters previously reported that India feared Chinese steel
flooding its markets as fallout from Beijing's escalating trade
war with Washington.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL4N22Q24C
    Over 50% of India's imports of wire rods and bars - both
long steel products used in construction - came from China last
year, government data showed. 
    India's top four steelmakers - JSW Steel Ltd  JSTL.NS , Tata
Steel Ltd  TATS.NS , state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd
 SAIL.NS  and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd  JNSP.NS  - together
control over 45% of India's total steel production. The
producers have been complaining about steel being dumped into
India for the last several months.  urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL3N2010JN 
    India's steel ministry has also sought cuts to import duties
on coking coal, steel scrap and graphite electrodes to reduce
raw material costs for making steel. 
    
    ($1 = 69.6650 Indian rupees) 

 (Reporting by Neha Dasgupta; Editing by Gavin Maguire and Tom
Hogue)
 ((neha.dasgupta@tr.com; +91-11-49548058; Reuters Messaging:
neha.dasgupta.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net (Twitter: @neha_5))
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