Steel industry, Commerce Ministry at loggerheads over MIP renewal
The government is likely to extend the MIP imposed on 173 steel items, ranging from $341 to $752 per tonne, on February 5
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Steel makers and Commerce Ministry may have a face-off over fresh list of items for imposing minimum import price, as former has sought inclusion of certain items and the latter wants the list to be pruned.
The non-tariff barrier was imposed for six months in order to safeguard domestic steel makers from cheap imports mainly from China.
Stainless steel makers have asked for inclusion of certain items in the list of products for imposition of minimum import price or MIP.
Hot-rolled and cold-rolled austenitic stainless steel, an alloy containing chromium and nickel, and hot-rolled and cold-rolled chromium stainless steel may be included in the list, a source said.
Steel Minister Birender Singh met various stakeholders from the steel industry on July 28 and deliberated on issues affecting the sector especially in the back drop of slowdown in the international steel industry and MIP for the domestic sector.
Industry has demanded for extension of MIP and some steel associations even pitched for inclusion of items which were absent in the previous list.
The commerce ministry wants ministry of steel to reduce the number of steel products which are currently under MIP norms.
The country has come under attack from other World Trade organization (WTO) members who view the move as protectionist, a ministry official said under conditions of anonymity.
“Under the current circumstances, removing some items from the MIP list seems a plausible option.” he added.
In a July meeting of the goods council at the WTO, nine members, including the United States, the European Union, Japan, Australia and China, among others had asked India to justify its continued restrictions on imported steel.
While a global downturn in steel prices have forced countries to impose temporary trade restrictions to help domestic manufacturers, the MIP being renewed for another six months might constitute a permanent measure and force India to explain its position to the WTO.