New Delhi: The government is “seriously considering” doing away with export duty after steel makers lowered prices to help contain inflation.
“The demand of the steel producers on rolling back the export duty is under consideration and a decision is expected soon,” Steel Secretary Raghav Sharan Pandey told PTI.
Inter-ministerial consultations are on in this connection.
During their meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week, steel producers pledged to lower prices of flat products by Rs 4,000 a tonne and prices of reinforcement bars and structural steel by Rs 2,000 and hold the price line for the next 2-3 months.
“The notification by the Finance Ministry was absolutely imperative as in its absence the duty payable would have been 20%,” Pandey said and pointed out that export duties on certain products has been imposed in pursuance of the Finance Bill, which was approved in the last session of Parliament and received the President’s assent.
Denying reports that certain steel makers were planning to roll back their price cuts, the secretary said that none of the seven major producers have expressed such an opinion to the ministry.
They have suggested that in view of their self restrain on exports, the government should not impose duties. “This is being seriously considered and as part of the process certain information has even sought from the major producers,” he added.
Pandey said that the meeting with secondary steel producers has been organised tomorrow to discuss various issues with them, including prices.
The secretary also denied a report that the Steel Ministry has sent notices to certain companies for resorting to opaque pricing, saying that all steel producers have been instead advised to display the price cuts as announced by them on their websites.
During their meeting with Singh, the steel makers had reportedly sought withholding of the notification on export duty, which finally was issued and made effective from Sunday.
Tata Steel yesterday renewed its commitment to freeze prices for up to three months, despite the duty notification.
Much to the respite of the government, iron and steel prices declined by 0.1%, according to official inflation data released last week.
The price cut by steel makers is expected to soften the prices of the alloy that might be reflected in the data in the coming weeks.
The producers have said that rising input costs was the main reason behind the recent spate of price rise and sought the government’s intervention in ensuring assured raw material linkage at mutually-agreed rates.