Acting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directive to curb needless imports, the finance ministry has directed that specific Chinese steel products must be subjected to stringent quality checks before allowing them to enter the country’s hinterland.
In an order issued to the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) on November 7, the finance ministry has said that Indian importers buying Chinese steel products like thermo-mechanically treated (TMT) bars, used extensively by the realty sector, will henceforth have to compulsorily secure certification by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) at all entry points to the country.
The move is specifically aimed at Chinese steel makers exporting steel by adding boron in their product mix to bypass the defined quality standards of the steel ministry’s Quality Control Order 2012 and the commerce ministry’s import duty.
The Indian Express had reported on September 18 that steel ministry had expressed serious concerns over the burgeoning steel imports from China which during the second quarter of 2014-15 exceeded “the historic (quarterly) high” of 90 million tonnes.
The Indian Steel Association (ISA), the newly created umbrella body of the country’s leading steel companies, has written to the government on November 4 cautioning that imports of hot rolled coils, sheets and plates are up by 41 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal of which imports from China amounts to 111 per cent.
Of the total imports Boron added steel accounted for 80 per cent imports from China. Imports of colour coated steel from China has surged by 117 per cent in the first half of this fiscal, while wire rod imports have shot up by 110 per cent, the ISA said in its letter.