India turns down steel body's move to impose safeguards on imports

Posted on 22 August 2019

Source: S&P Global Platts

The Indian Steel Association's move to get the government to impose a 25% safeguard duty on steel imports has been turned down, several sources belonging to the ISA told S&P Global Platts Wednesday.

"The mail from [the] DGTR [Directorate General of Trade Remedies] was received by our lawyer late in the evening [Tuesday]," an official at ISA said.

The DGTR, which falls under India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry, deals with anti-dumping, countervailing duty and safeguard measures.

The association sought the duties to restrict cross dumping of products after the US and the EU established tariff and quota limits. Also, the association said imports are rising in India due to an ongoing tariff dispute between the US and China.

Indian mill sources had told Platts they were asking the government for a suo-moto action in the form of provisional safeguards duty to the tune of 20%-25% on an ad valorem basis for six months on imports of all major steel products.

But the ISA's move has been opposed by steel consumer groups such as the Steel Users Federation of India, or SUFI.

"We had met the DGTR last week and it seemed that DGTR had questions around how to define 'surge in imports'," an official with SUFI said, adding that imports of several steel imports had declined in the past few months.

Data published by state-run Joint Plant Committee showed that steel imports fell 6% year on year over April to July 2019.

A New-Delhi based mill source, however, discounted the DGTR communication as rejection of the plea made by mills.

"This is part of the detailed enquiry process at DGTR," he said. "It is not rejected as yet."

"Seems like DGTR will only act on actual injury and not perceived threat of injury," a Mumbai-based mill source and member of ISA said.

Following the DGTR's response, ISA is expected to file an appeal with additional data to make its case for the safeguards, the sources said. 

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