India decides to keep hike in steel import duties in abeyance for now


The Indian government unlikely to go in for another round of hike in import duties, including steel products, at least not immediately, a government official said on Tuesday, October 16.

He said that while the Ministry of Steel recommended increasing import duties on steel products to a flat rate of 15 percent from an existing range of five percent to 12.5 percent, the government after consultations led by the Ministry of Finance has decided to keep such a move in abeyance, “as of now”.

The official said that while the government already increased import duties on ‘non-essential imports’, increasing import duties on steel products ‘is not off the table” but will not be given effect “immediately.”

After review of current trade dynamics, the government is holding the view that rapid depreciation of the rupee against the dollar is offering an automatic hedge against rising imports, the official added.

The view of capital and engineering goods manufacturers and exporters too weighed in on the decision as latter had made representations that higher tariffs on imported steel will make Indian exports of engineering products uncompetitive and risk fall in volume shipments and thereby result in lower foreign currency earnings of the country, the official said.