The government has started investigation into cheap imports of some steel items like HR coils from countries like China and Ukraine and may impose duties of up to 15 per cent on these items in order to safeguard the interests of domestic producers, official sources said.
The investigations follow complaints from the industry that a surge in cheap imports of hot-rolled coils, sheets and strips has affected domestic manufacturers, the official said, adding, a decision on whether to impose safeguard duty will be made soon.
The complaints filed by Essar Steel and Ispat Industries has the backing of SAIL and JSW Steel, sources in the Directorate General of Safeguards said.
''The safeguards investigation has been initiated for HR coils and a few other steel products. If recommended, the duty could be in the range of 10 to 15 per cent," he added.
The products whose imports are being opposed by the industry are mainly used by sectors like automobile and infrastructure and the four aggrieved companies accounted for 80 per cent of the country's total steel production in 2008-2009.
The companies said their sales have fallen steeply following a surge in imports of these products from countries like China, Japan and Korea during April-February 2008-2009.
Iron ore exports up 17 per cent in February
Export of iron ore from the country to China has shot up even as overall exports from the country increased nearly 17 per cent to 12.6 million tonnes in February, the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) said today.
Shipments of iron ore from the country stood at 10.8 million tonnes in the same month of the previous year, according to provisional figures provided by the apex miners' body.
During April-February 2008-09, exports of iron ore rose marginally by 1.3 per cent to 91.6 million tonnes as against 90.4 million tonnes a year ago.