Concerned that the import duty on ferro nickel has made it dearer by Rs 2,400 a tonne and was reducing the competitiveness of domestic stainless steel industry,the stainless steel producers have pleaded with the Steel Ministry to recommend abolition of the said duty.
In a letter to the Steel Ministry,the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA) pointed out that import duty on ferro alloys was restored earlier this month which included ferro nickel,a key ingredient in making stainless steel,which is not available domestically and hence has to be imported. “Paying 5 per cent import duty for such a product is a great disadvantage. Our competing nations do not pay any such duty. The duty is all the more uncalled for as ferro nickel is only used for steel making and not for any other purpose,” ISSDA President N C Mathur told The Indian Express.
So concerned is the ISSDA,that its key office-bearers are meeting the ministry’s top brass tomorrow to air their views and seek that the ministry ask Finance Ministry to do away with the said duty. “In view of large imports of stainless steel into India at low price,we will request Steel Ministry to ask Finance Ministry to consider abolishing import duty on ferro nickel items,” Mathur said. When contacted Steel Secretary Pramod Kumar Rastogi said “let them come and let us see what they have to say.”
Endorsing the sentiments of ISSDA,the Indian Ferro Alloys Producers Association said while the import duty on ferro alloys was welcome,ferro nickel is imported entirely from abroad and hence it should be exempted from customs duty. “We understand that ISSDA have requested government to reverse the customs duty on ferro nickel to zero. We support ISSDA’s request to reverse the duty as nickel is not produced in the country in any form. Since ferro nickel is the basic input for manufacture of stainless steel we request you to kindly recommend to the Finance Ministry to abolish the duty,” IFAPA said in a letter to Rastogi.