Stung by over 159 per cent surge in imports, the country’s major aluminium producers on Thursday asked the Union mines ministry to increase the import duty on the metal to 10 per cent.
The ministry said that it would consult the finance ministry before suggesting an appropriate fiscal measure.
Led by their apex body Aluminium Association of India (AAI), officials of companies like Vedanta and Aditya Birla group firm Hindalco met mines secretary Balvender Kumar and said the domestic aluminium industry needs to be protected against cheaper imports.
Citing market data, they said total imports into the country have surged by over 159 per cent to 1,563 kilo tones (KT) in 2015 as against 881 KT in 2011, mainly from China and Middle-East nations. These imports accounted for 56 per cent of Indian consumption in FY15, while the domestic produce accounted for only 44 per cent.
The AAI representatives contended that surplus aluminium output from China is making their way into the local markets.
They cited that China, which possesses more than 50 per cent of world aluminium production now exports over 20 per cent of its produce into India. “China offers indirect subsidy like power tariff discounts of around $ 200 per tonne to aluminium smelters, 13 per cent VAT rebate on exports and favourable terms of credit to its companies.”
Besides, the neighbouring nation has reduced freight rates equivalent to $ 35 per tonne of aluminium and has removed the import duty on alumina for its producers, the aluminium producers told Kumar.
The situation has become further worrisome due to slide in global prices in recent years.