New Delhi: The government is mulling levying a safeguard duty of up to 15% on certain steel items to protect the domestic industry against cheap imports from countries like China and Ukraine, official sources said.
Endorsing the industry’s concern that surge in steel import is affecting the domestic market, the government has initiated an investigation and will soon decide on quantum of safeguard duty to be levied on products like hot-rolled (HR) coils, sheet and strips, a government official said.
“The safeguard investigation has been initiated for HR coils and a few other steel products. If recommended, the duty could be in the range of 10 to 15%,” he added.
The products for which the investigation has been started are mainly used by sectors like automobile and infrastructure.
Two leading private producers -- Essar Steel and Ispat Industries -- had filed a petition for imposing safeguard duty and the same was supported by Sail and JSW Steel, sources in the Directorate General of Safeguards said.
The applicants along with supporting companies accounted for nearly 80% of the country’s total steel production between April 2008 and February 2009.
The companies said there has been a steep increase in imports of steel items from countries like China, Japan and Korea from April 2008 to February 2009, leading to a decline in their sales volumes and capacity utilisation of the plants.