As US Heightens Import Taxes, Concerns of Rise in Chinese Imports Triggered in Indian Steel Industry

by IS_Indust

India’s steel industry, already grappling with cheaper imports, is growing increasingly concerned about a potential surge in shipments from China after the United States imposed tariffs on Chinese steel. Industry executives and analysts have expressed their apprehensions about this development.

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden announced steep tariff increases on a range of Chinese imports, including steel and aluminum.

“India is already under grave threat of imports because all major steel-consuming economies are shutting their doors on these steel-producing countries,” said Alok Sahay, Secretary General at the Indian Steel Association (ISA). “We are highly vulnerable to surging and predatory imports,” Sahay added.

The ISA counts top Indian steel makers, such as JSW Steel Ltd and Tata Steel Ltd, among its members.

Over the past two years, Indian steel producers have frequently voiced concerns about cheaper Chinese steel entering the Indian market. The weak domestic steel demand in China has prompted the world’s largest steel producer to offload its surplus stocks by offering competitive rates to Indian buyers, adversely affecting local producers.

Steel makers have lobbied the Indian government to intervene and curb supplies from Beijing. However, the government has resisted calls for import curbs, citing strong local steel demand fueled by a surge in economic activity.

India’s steel consumption rose 13.4 percent to 136 million metric tons during the fiscal year ending March 2024. In the 2023/24 fiscal year, India turned into a net importer of finished steel, with China being the top exporter to India. Chinese steel shipments to India reached 2.7 million metric tons in 2023/24, nearly doubling from the previous year, according to provisional government data.

“Safeguards are essential, but nothing can happen till the new government is in place,” said a senior executive at a major steel firm, who requested anonymity in line with the company’s policy.

India began voting on April 19 in a seven-phase election, with ballot counting scheduled for June 4.

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