Steel importers oppose any duty hike on stainless steel

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Mumbai, Nov 17(UNI) Process plant machinery manufacturing and exporting units using imported high-end stainless steel, currently not being manufactured in the country, have strongly opposed any move by the Union Finance ministry to levy import duty on stainless steel products.

The Union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan has asked the finance minister to levy 10 per cent duty on stainless steel, secretary of city-based Process Plant &Machinery Association of India (PPMAI) V P Ramachandran today said in a statement here. This proposal has been made to provide protection to the domestic stainless steel producer, he alleged.

He said that the process plant manufacturers in the country use high grade steel for manufacturing critical components of machinery.

Indian stainless steel industry has a poor range of products with near monopoly of one producer Salem stainless plant, not having its own slab production. So the import on stainless steel, which had remained untouched till date, will benefit the single monopoly industry.

According to him the Indian companies are importing those grades and sizes of stainless steel which do not directly affect the domestic manufacturers. The industry consuming imported stainless steel is reeling under the impact of depreciation of the value of the rupee from Rs 40 a dollar to Rs 50 a dollar, he said, adding that the stainless steel products already have a tariff protection of 25 per cent.

The industry is not hit by normal inflationary pressures, as the main raw materials for it such as nickel, ferro-nickel, melting scrap are largely imported and their prices have nose-dived in the past couple of months, said Kailash Unhale, Production head of Alfa Laval, a company manufacturing and exporting process plant machinery for food, diary and chemical units.

Shirish More, Vice President, Kirlosker Brothers, a company exporting pumps and valves, said that introducing a high duty regime will prove counter-productive.

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