The Indian Steel Association (ISA), which represents large private and public sector steel players in the country, has said that the US move to impose 25% tariff on steel imports is likely to trigger major shifts in existing trade flows of steel and steel products globally. It has warned that imposition of tariffs in the US will inevitably force major steel producing countries to divert part of their exports to major steel consuming centres like India. This could distort the domestic market considerably by raising the threat of imports.
Clubbing a country like India which is non mature in steel with other steel surplus countries is highly inappropriate, Bhaskar Chatterjee, Secretary General of ISA said in a statement. Despite being the third largest producer of steel globally, accounting for 12% of non -Chinese steel output, India accounts for only about 2.7% of US steel imports. It added India has among the lowest per capita domestic demand at 65 kg for steel and steel products and reserves a majority of its production to meet a growing appetite for steel at home.
Indian steel producers already face 16 trade barriers, which include 10 anti-dumping duties and six countervailing duties in the US, the statement said. This includes corrosion resistant steel, cold rolled flat steel items, certain hot rolled steel products and cut to length carbon steel plates making it nearly impossible to export to the US.
"This adversely dents the growth prospects of a developing country like India whose production and consumption is inward-looking," ISA stated. Thus the US proposal to include India among other countries is not desirable as a policy measure, it felt.
ISA also said since steel is an important material particularly with regard to defence and military combat vehicles, it is understandable that a country would like to protect its industry from any threat to national security. However, Indian steel firms had always adhered to global trade regulations and WTO framework while exporting to the US, he said, adding: "It is for a reason that in December 2016, the United States has bestowed the privileged status of 'major defence partner' on India, which is a position unique to India alone."
Given the scenario, the ISA said “it is imperative to have a nuanced distinction for Indian steelmakers, prior to imposition of across-the-board tariffs, purely to be levied on the basis of a country's motivation to produce steel.”
Link to Original Article