New Delhi: Stainless steel importers have urged the government not to restrict overseas shipments of the alloy to India, saying it would hit the consuming sector, which buys the “superior-quality” commodity from abroad.
Owing allegiance to the Process Plant and Machinery Association of India (PPMAI), the importers have written to Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, requesting him not to shift stainless steel from the ‘Free´ to the ‘Restricted´ category of items.
“The Indian stainless steel industry has a poor range of products with a near monopoly of one producer. Therefore, a majority of the imports in stainless steel flat products do not offer competition to the domestic production sources at all,” PPMAI Secretary V P Ramachandran said.
Any move to restrict imports will add to the problems of operations of stainless steel importers, including utensil makers, who are already reeling under the impact of depreciation of the rupee, which has made imports expensive, he added.
The importers’ plea comes within days of the government slapping restrictions on imports of specific steel items used widely in the automobile, oil and construction sectors.
The government has put curbs on import of hot-rolled coils, the mother steel product, along with imposition of 5% customs duty on specified iron and steel items. It has also brought seamless tubes and pipes under the ‘Restricted´ list.
For importing items under the ‘restricted´ category, companies need to take licence from the government.
According to an official source, the government has chosen bringing items under the restricted list of imports as the process of imposing anti-dumping duty is long-drawn.