In an attempt to widen the scope of protections provided to domestic steel manufacturers, India has initiated an anti-dumping investigation on cold-rolled steel product imports from China, Japan, South Korea and Ukraine.
Cold-rolled steel is produced by putting steel in between rollers to compress it and is used in manufacturing automobiles, home appliances, furniture and bicycles.
Once the investigation is over, the government may recommend the amount of anti-dumping duty which, if levied, will compensate for the losses borne by the domestic industry, said an official notification dated 19 April.
This comes in the backdrop of panic in the global steel market with China claiming a record high production of 70.65 million tonnes (MT) in March.
The enquiry has been initiated by Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAAD), an arm of India’s ministry of commerce and industry, on the basis of a petition filed by domestic steel producers, including state-owned Steel Authority of India Ltd, JSW Steel Ltd and Essar Steel India Ltd. The investigation will be done for two periods —July 2015 to December 2015 and April 2012 to December 2015.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has taken a slew of measures to support the debt-ridden steel sector. It raised import duty on steel in 2015 on two occasions and extended the provisional safeguard duty on steel till March 2018. The government is also preparing a bailout package for the steel industry.
“The government prima facie finds that there is sufficient evidence of dumping of cold rolled/cold reduced flat steel products of iron or non-alloy steel from countries including China, Japan, Korea and Ukraine. It has caused injury to the domestic industry and causal link between the alleged dumping and the injury exists to justify initiation of an anti-dumping investigation,” the notification added.
There is an ongoing anti-subsidy investigation against Chinese stainless steel manufacturers in order to levy a countervailing duty on stainless steel imports. Also, DGAAD on 11 April initiated an anti-dumping enquiry on hot-rolled flat steel products against six countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Indonesia.
Hot rolling is a process of manufacturing steel at high temperatures. At such temperatures, it is easy to give shape to steel.
According to Joint Plant Committee, a government-authorised institution to collect data on Indian iron and steel industry, India’s steel imports have continued to grow and increased by 20.2% year-on-year to 11.20 MT during financial year 2016 from 9.3 MT a year ago.
Experts believe that such practices are common across the world given the oversupply and low demand of steel worldwide.
“Currently, everywhere in the world there is a problem of excess production by China and other countries. And to counter this, anti-subsidy and safeguard measures are being taken by various countries including the US, India and many others,” said Anwarul Hoda, professor at Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, a policy think tank.