Giving relief to domestic steel producers against cheap in-bound shipments, the government on Friday imposed a minimum import price (MIP) on 173 steel products ranging between $341 to $752 per tonne (nearly Rs 23,065.24- 50,865.28).
"MIP is introduced against 173 HS Codes (iron and steel products)," the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said in a notification.
The minimum price will remain in place for six months only. However, it will not apply on imports under the advance authorisation scheme and high-grade pipes used in the petroleum and natural gas industry.
While the major steel producers hailed the government's decision, the user industry cried foul, saying it would impact prices of raw materials.
"We welcome this initiative. This measure will ensure a level-playing field to the Indian steel industry which has been adversely affected by dumped imports from various sources. We hope that this will suitably address the concern of surging cheap imports," Shivramkrishnan Hariharan, Chief Commercial Officer, Essar Steel India, said.
Taking a similar view, the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association said this may slightly help the ailing steel sector. However, it expressed disappointment that stainless steel products have been left out of the ambit of the MIP mechanism.
Welcoming the development, the Indian Steel Association Secretary General Sanak Mishra said this will provide some relief to the steel industry in the face of a large volume of cheap imports at predatory prices.
Jindal Steel and Power said the industry has gone through "very challenging times and this development augurs well".
On the other hand, H L Bhardwaj, Secretary General, Federation of Industries of India, said, "MIP will inflate prices of raw materials. Engineering exports, start-up projects as well as 'Make in India' will also suffer."
Furthermore, the notification said imports/shipments under the letter of credit already entered into with foreign suppliers will also be exempted from this decision.
On ingots and billets, blooms and slabs, the MIP reads $362 (nearly Rs 24,485.68), $352 (nearly Rs 23,809.28) and $341 (nearly Rs 23,065.24) per tonne, respectively. On flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel of a width of 600 mm or more and hot-rolled one, the minimum prices will be $445 (nearly Rs 30,099.8) and $500 (nearly Rs 33,820) on different items.