India Imposes 20% Import Tax on Chinese Hot-Rolled Flat Steel

India, the world’s third-largest steel consumer, imposed a 20 percent tax on imports of some varieties of the alloy from China to protect local producers. The shares of Tata Steel Ltd. (TATA) and its domestic rivals surged.

The duty on hot-rolled flat products of stainless steel will last for 200 days, the customs department said in a Jan. 4 notification posted today on its website. The taxes will also apply to steel products having a minimum nickel content of 6 percent and those containing chromium, with or without the presence of other elements such as molybdenum and titanium, the notice said.

Indian steelmakers are contending with imports as global demand falters, prompting producers in China, South Korea and Japan to tap overseas markets. Imports from April to November surged 19.6 percent to more than 5 million metric tons, India’s steel ministry said on Dec. 6.

“More and more countries are raising trade barriers amid the weak global economy,” Li Xinchuang, president of China’s Metallurgical Industry Planning & Research Institute, said by phone. “I am quite concerned about this and don’t see any reason why India should impose a 20 percent import tax,” said Li, who is also a deputy general secretary of the China Iron & Steel Association.

Shares of Tata Steel, the nation’s biggest producer, rose as much as 3.4 percent to 448.10 rupees and traded at 438.40 rupees as of 3.27 p.m. in Mumbai. Steel Authority of India Ltd. (SAIL), the second-largest producer, rose as much as 6.8 percent to 101.75 rupees, while JSW Steel Ltd. (JSTL), the third-biggest, jumped as much as 4.7 percent to 866.40 rupees.

Last year, China exported about 45,000 tons of hot-rolled stainless flat steel to India, or 5.4 percent of China’s global shipment of the product, worth about $134 million, said Xu Xiangchun, Beijing-based chief analyst with researcher Mysteel.com.

“It’s quite a small amount to affect Chinese producers,” Xu said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Abhishek Shanker in Mumbai at ashanker1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net

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