Chiefs of domestic steel firms on Tuesday met finance minister Arun Jaitley to press for raising fiscal barriers to block cheaper Chinese steel flooding the local markets. They also asked for easier loans for stressed steel projects.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of concerns within the steel industry on imports of cheaper steel even as it continues to battle sluggish markets and squeezed margins. Between April 2014 and January 31 this year the country imported 8.38 million tonne (MT) of steel of which 2.9 MT was from China against 1.08 MT in 2013-14.
“This is likely to increase if fiscal measures are not taken soon,” said an official of a steel firm. The delegation of Indian Steel Association comprising chiefs of seven steel firms that met Jaitley included Essar Steel chairman Shashi Ruia, JSW Steel chief Sajjan Jindal, Tata Steel MD TV Narendran, Jindal Steel and Power Limited’s Naveen Jindal and SAIL chairman CS Verma. Steel minister Narendra Singh Tomar attended the meeting.
The finance minister had hiked import duty on certain steel products and also kept peak custom duty hike to 15 per cent as an enabling provision for the future in the Budget 2015-16.
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