Concerns Over India’s Steel Import Trend

The Indian steel industry has voiced apprehensions regarding India’s increasing reliance on steel imports in the fiscal year 2023-24. The industry views this development as a significant warning sign, particularly in light of India’s aspirations for self-reliance, or “Atmanirbharta.”

Magnitude of the Import Surge

According to data from the steel ministry’s Joint Plant Committee, India witnessed a notable surge in the import of finished steel during the 2023-24 fiscal year. Imports rose by 38% compared to the previous fiscal year, reaching 8.319 million tonnes (MnT) as opposed to 6.022 MnT.

Industry Leaders Express Alarm

Alok Sahay, the Secretary-General of the Indian Steel Association (ISA), highlighted the threat posed by escalating imports, particularly from China. He emphasized that India’s transition to a net steel importer serves as a warning signal for the country’s pursuit of self-reliance.

Urgent Measures Needed to Address Predatory Imports

In response to the surge in imports, industry leaders have called for immediate trade remedial action to curb predatory practices. Alok Sahay urged for the removal of the “lesser duty rule” to prevent steel-surplus countries like China from exploiting India’s growth momentum to bolster their own steel industries.

Insights from Steel Industry Professionals

Ranjan Dhar, Chief Marketing Officer at ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel, stressed the importance of restricting steel imports to safeguard investments and sustain robust GDP growth. Anubhav Kathuria, Director at Synergy Steels, highlighted the need for strategic measures to enhance the cost competitiveness of steel products, especially in the context of rising imports.

Immediate Focus Areas

In the short term, industry experts emphasize the importance of reducing import duties on essential raw materials such as ferro nickel, molybdenum concentrate, and ferro molybdenum to enhance cost competitiveness and mitigate the impact of rising imports.

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