Stainless steel users oppose any import duty hike

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{image-stainless steel_04112008.jpg}Mumbai, Nov 4: Small scale industries, using imported stainless steel, including stainless steel utencil manufacturers and process plant manufacturing units, have written a letter to Secretary of Union Ministry of Steel P K Rastogi opposing any proposed move by the steel ministry to raise the import duty on stainless steel products in order to provide protection to the domestic stainless steel producers.

Process Plant&Machinery Association of India (PPMAI) secretary V P Ramachandran said the stainless steel industry has a poor range of products and near monopoly of one producer with 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.

''Moreover, the Indian companies are importing those grades and sizes of stainless steel which do not directly affect the domestic manufacturers. Above all the industry, consuming imported stainless steel, is already reeling under the impact of depreciation of the value of the rupee from Rs 40 a dollar to Rs 50 a dollar,'' he added. Process Plant Stainless Manufacturing's K D Chinniwala said '' imposing import duty on stainless steel will affect the small and medium enterprise (SME) producers the most, as their operating margins will fall. They are bound to import value added steel as domestic producers are not able to supply high grade stainless steel.'' Echoing similar view, J H Bhatt (commercial head) of Patnamani, one of the largest producers of stainless steel pipes and tubes in the country, said putting roadblocks to stainless steel imports will create monopoly of low quality domestic producers in the market and deprive the small stainless steel users in gaining competitive edge in the domestic and global market.


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