Steel Deluge Spurs India to Extend Safeguard Duty to 2018

  • The levy was imposed in September last year for six months
  • Officials trying to curb imports from nations such as China

India extended a safeguard duty on some steel imports up to 2018 as officials grapple with an onslaught of cheap supplies amid a global glut.

A levy of 20 percent applies until mid-September this year, dropping in stages to 10 percent for the six months through mid-March 2018, the Central Board of Excise and Customs said in a statement on Wednesday. The measure doesn’t apply to products coming in at or above minimum import prices.

Inward shipments have caused and threaten to cause serious harm to domestic industry, the government said in the statement.

India imposed the duty in September 2015 for 200 days and set floor prices for some products in February, after a slowdown in China exacerbated an oversupply of steel worldwide. Tata Steel Ltd., the metal-producing arm of India’s biggest conglomerate, said Tuesday it will consider selling its U.K. steel division in part because of weaker demand and prices. 

Safeguard duties are meant to be temporary levies imposed to shield domestic industry from a damaging surge in imports. The steel ministry is also studying the feasibility of a bailout package to help indebted local producers.

Today’s safeguard duty extension breaks down as follows:

Until Sept. 13, 201620 percent
Sept. 14, 2016 to March 13, 201718 percent
March 14, 2017 to Sept. 13, 201715 percent
Sept. 14, 2017 to March 13, 201810 percent

Steel imports into Asia’s third-largest economy fell 7.3 percent to 912,000 metric tons last month from a year earlier but were up 20.5 percent in the 11 months through February, provisional official data show.

Tata Steel closed 6.7 percent higher in Mumbai on Wednesday, JSW Steel Ltd. 3.2 percent, Steel Authority of India Ltd. 3.6 percent and Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. 3.5 percent.

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