New Delhi: India may impose an import duty on steel and withdraw a 15% export tax to help domestic firms like Tata Steel Ltd and Steel Authority of India Ltd following a slump in prices, the steel minister said on Wednesday.
Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters the government would consider the proposal on Friday.
Global steel prices have fallen more than a fifth from this year’s peak in June and July, hurting firms such as South Korea’s POSCO, the world’s No. 4 steelmaker, which has given a grim business outlook due to slowing demand growth.
“Tata and SAIL met me and said: ‘International prices are falling. So we have a problem.´ They suggested export duty should be scrapped and import duty should be imposed. We are meeting on 17 October to consider this,” Paswan said.
India’s steel imports in April-September, the first half of the fiscal year, rose by half to about 3 million tonnes, according to media reports.
Shares in Tata Steel were down 7.3% at Rs282.50 by 1:52 p.m. (0822 GMT) in a weak Mumbai market that was down 4.8%. The stock has fallen about 70% this year.
State-run SAIL shares were trading down 1.3A% at Rs105.9.