Centre issues quality norms for stainless steel products

Centre issues quality norms for stainless steel products

In a bid to curb the rising imports of sub-standard products, the government has laid down quality control norms for stainless steel plates, sheets and strips.

The order, notified recently, would come into effect within three months. However, industry watchers say it would provide little relief to struggling domestic manufacturers such as Jindal Stainless from cheap imports from China, Japan, Korea and Europe.

Steel Imports stood at 4.6 lakh tonne (LT) last fiscal, a 42% rise over 3.24 LT imported in 2013-14. Around 95% of the total stainless steel imports are in the form of flat products such as plate, sheet and strip.

The notification would prohibit sell, distribute any stainless steel products which do not conform to the specified standards and do not bear the mark of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). It would apply to domestic producers as well.

“The order will benefit the public at large considering the fact that we are exposed to stainless steel in one form or the other in all walks of life. The order will also help to curb the import of sub-standard stainless steel into the country and help to create conditions of free and fair competition in the industry,” said NC Mathur, president, Indian Stainless Steel Development Association.

World’s third-largest consumers of stainless steel, India has around 55 LT installed production capacity now, but the utilisation level has always been subdued to stand at around 60% last fiscal. Even as consumption has started picking up in recent times from end-use sectors such as automobiles and capital goods, there is little chance that it would go up much from around 32 LT last fiscal.

Mathur said the order would bring “little good” for the domestic industry as it would not have much impact on imports. He said the government must increase import duty, following the examples of others, to at least 15% from 7.5% now. “Only then, Indian stainless steel makers will have some relief,” he said.

The government had in June imposed anti-dumping duty in the range between $180 and $316 per tonne on industrial-grade stainless steel imported from China, South Korea and Malaysia.

Nearly half of the total stainless steel imports into the country comes from China, Japan and Korea.

Source: http://www.financialexpress.com/

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