ASSOCHAM asks industry to hold price line, denies cartelisation

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New Delhi, Jun 11 (UNI) Newly-elected ASSOCHAM President Sajjan Jindal today called upon the industry to hold on to its price line in the face of severe cost pressure and asked the government to scarp Press Note-1 to send positive signals to foreign investors.

''These are diffficult times for industry as inflationary pressures costs are rising and there is a tendency to hike prices of industrial goods. An important item on the agenda of ASSOCHAM is to dialogue with various indusry segments to keep a cap on price increases,'' Mr Jindal said while addressing his first press conference after taking over as the chamber President.

Mr Jindal said ASSOCHAM will work hand in hand with the government to fight inflationary pressures.

Mr Jindal, who is Vice-Chairman and Managing Director JSW Steel Ltd, denied that there was cartelisation in the steel and cement industry, an allegation made by top government functionares.

He said had it been so then domestic prices of these commodities would have been in excess of global prices, while the fact is that they are much less.

He said some leading manufacturers of steel had recently met Finance Minister P Chidambaram to argue out their case that there was no cartelisation in the cement and steel sectors.

Mr Jindal said Press Note-1 was an Act which was introduced in the past to protect the interests of domestic players, who run the risk of direct competition with their foreign joint venture partners, better equipped with technology and capital.

Press Note-1 entails a no-objection certificate from a domestic player to a foreign partner if he wants to set up another unit in the same line of production.

''Since there has been a paradigm shift in the Indian industry, its perspective and purpose of regulation needs to change. The Indian industry is today matured and expanding fast in foreign turf, moving away from the protectionist approach. There is, therefore, no need for such a law,'' Mr Jindal said.

He said there were at least 50 foreign players facing rough weather on account of Press Note 1 adding that the law countervails the government endeavours to liberalise the economy and its approach towards globalisation. It is a stumbling block in the way of promoting Foreign Direct Investments, he said.


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