• Third government step since June to protect steel industry
  • Steel imports jumped 51 percent in five months ended Aug. 31

India imposed a temporary 20 percent duty on certain steel products with immediate effect to protect the domestic industry from lower-priced imports.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in New Delhi on Monday that the duty would be imposed for 200 days. That follows a recommendation by the Director General of Safeguards last week to apply the levy on certain flat steel products, including hot-rolled coil used in making cars and appliances. The department had probed claims that cheaper imports are hurting local mills.

This is the third government step since June to protect the steel industry. Last month, India raised the import tax on some products, which the industry said at that time wouldn’t be enough to stem inbound shipments. Steel imports jumped 51 percent to 4.5 million tons in the five months ended Aug. 31, even as local demand grew 4.6 percent during the period, according to government data.

Domestic steel producers Steel Authority of India Ltd., Essar Steel Ltd. and JSW Steel Ltd. had requested the imposition of safeguard measures for four years, the Directorate General of Safeguards said on Sept. 7. Director General Vinay Chhabra said that the safeguards agency had initiated an investigation in the matter after it found that increased imports of hot-rolled flat coils were threatening domestic producers.

India raised the import tax on certain steel products to 12.5 percent from 10 percent on Aug. 12. The government imposed some anti-dumping duties in June.

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