Millennium Post

Steelmakers seek immediate implementation of customs duty hike

With imports set to hit a record high in the current fiscal, steel-makers on Sunday urged the government to bring the provisioned customs duty hike in the Budget into effect immediately to bail them out of the deepening crisis.

"Some secondary steel producers have already resorted to production cut and instead of making on their own, they have now ventured into trading importing from China and other countries," Jayant Acharya, Director (Commercial), JSW Steel, said.

Facing a host of other problems such as higher production cost due to dearer raw materials and inflated interest rates, major producers are also left with no money to further invest, which is tantamount to government's "Make in India" programme. "Government should implement the enabling budgetary provision for raising the customs duty as soon as possible to give steel-makers a little elbowroom," Acharya said.

He also added that some non-tariff barriers to be put in place to safeguard against the abnormal surge in imports. Paying heed to steel-makers' plea, the Budget has created a possibility of raising peak import duty for steels to 15 per cent from 10 per cent now, aimed at protecting the home-grown firms from rising imports. But, it has been kept as an enabling provision for suitable imposition.
Meanwhile, imports have jumped by over 67 per cent during April-February period of current fiscal to 8.39 million tonnes (MT).

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