Asserting that the steel sector has started "stabilising", Steel Minister Chaudhary Birendra Singh yesterday said the industry must gear up to face global competition as protectionist measures like minimum import price (MIP) and anti-dumping can not continue indefinitely.
"At least now I am of the view that steel industry as such is stabilising and if everything is stabilised then we may think which are the components which should again be put in MIP (list)," Singh told PTI in an interview. He further said that steps taken by the government like MIP and anti-dumping duty on certain products have helped improve the condition of the steel sector which has suffered on account of glut in the global market.
"All put together now (steel) import has come down to 34% and our (steel) export is now 58% higher as compared to last year (fiscal)," he said. The government, he said, has already indicated to the industry that protectionist measures like MIP and anti dumping cannot be provided indefinitely.
"But, on the other hand, we have also suggested the steel industry that this kind of continuance will not go on indefinitely," he said. Giving relief to domestic steel producers against cheap in-bound shipments, for the first time, MIP was imposed in February last year on 173 items. Later, the number of products were reduced.
"When we started with this (MIP) it was 173. Now we are just left with 19," the minister said. Last month, the government had said that it was taking permanent measures to counter unfair trade practices as per international norms.
A total of 124 steel products have been covered by provisional anti-dumping duties and final orders on it are expected in due course, the government had said. Steel makers had urged the government to extend MIP on certain products, saying its imposition has marginally improved the industry's viability after a long period of subdued prices.
Accelerating imports at predatory prices from steel surplus countries like China, Japan and Korea have been a major area of concern for the domestic industry since September 2014.