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Home >Politics >Policy >Delhi HC serves Centre notice over minimum import price on steel products

New Delhi: The Delhi high court issued on Thursday notice to the Centre on a plea by lobby group Steel Wires Manufacturers Association against the government’s minimum import price (MIP) on 173 steel products aimed at providing relief to local steel producers hurt by cheap imports.

A bench comprising chief justice G. Rohini and Jayant Nath sought responses within two weeks from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance.

The association in its plea has questioned the jurisdiction of DGFT which issued a notification on 5 February imposing MIP on 173 steel products ranging between $341 and $752 per tonne.

“Internationally, the prices of steel are low and the MIP under the notification is relatively higher. If I import steel under the MIP, I will be caught under the web of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 and other regulations," the lawyer for the association told the court.

The MIP, which will remain in place for six months, was welcomed by steel producers but opposed by steel users as it was bound to adversely affect the price of the raw material.

Since the MIP is higher than the actually steel import price, the commerce ministry has already expressed fears that the bulk importers may over-invoice imports and transfer the price difference to India through ‘hawala’ route, thereby fueling inflow of black money.

To check this, the ministry had asked the finance ministry to levy an additional duty equivalent to the price differential between MIP and the actual import price, Mint had reported on March 15. (http://bit.ly/1WlrITk)

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