INDIA BUDGET: Flat rolled stainless steel import duty raised to 7.5%

Duties on all grades of flat rolled stainless steel imported into India will increase to 7.5% from a previous 5%, with immediate effect, finance minister Arun Jaitley has announced in his 2014-15 budget speech.

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Local producers would be supported by the measure, Jaitley said when speaking on behalf of the new government led by Narendra Modi in the Indian parliament in New Delhi on Thursday July 10.

“The domestic stainless steel industry is at present suffering from severe under-utilisation of capacity,” Jaitley said.

Import duties on flat rolled stainless steel products have now been made level with those for carbon steel, also at 7.5%.

“This will help domestic stainless steel producers, but it has not been put in place on the long products side,” Prasad Baji, vice president of financial service group Edelweiss told Steel First.

The Indian Stainless Steel Development Assn (ISSDA) welcomed the move, but said that more could be done to relieve stainless steel mills from import duties on raw materials.

“Keeping in mind the condition of the domestic industry, the government should have also reduced the duty on input raw materials such as stainless steel scrap and nickel, both of which are not domestically available,” ISSDA president NC Mathur said.

The stainless organisation also called on the government to address stainless industry trade challenges in light of a “huge surge in imports from China”.

“We hope this issue will also be addressed by the government on an urgent basis, through anti-dumping and safeguarding measures,” Mathur said.

Investments in infrastructure and the housing sector, also announced today, were also welcomed by the ISSDA.