India's steel minister said on September 13 he wanted the finance ministry to scrap the 2.5% duty on imports of coking coal, a key steelmaking raw material, to limit input costs.
"We are pursuing a cut," Chaudhary Birender Singh told reporters. "We want to make it zero. It cannot be 2.5% to 2%."
India's coking coal imports rose 13% in the 2017-18 fiscal year that ended in March.
Rising prices of coking coal have been a matter of concern for the sector. Currently, import duty on coking coal is 2.5% and many steel companies are dependent on imported coking coal as the quality of domestic coal is not suitable for the steel industry, due to higher ash content.
In the last year, coking coal imports rose 13% and steelmakers had been complaining about the 2.5% import duty. The request had been pending since January and the Steel Ministry is once again pushing it.
India is the third largest steel producer in the world and the sector contributes to over 2% to India's GDP.
The Steel Ministry on September 13 gave away Secondary Steel Sector Awards to 26 mini steel companies in recognition of their contribution to the nation's economy. At present, India's steel sector has a capacity of 134 million tonnes and consumption of steel has almost touched 70 kg per capita in the country.
Currently, secondary steel sector contributes to more than half of the total steel production in the country. "The secondary industry contributes 57% to the total domestic steel output. It is claimed that when the capacity would be 300 million tonnes, their share would increase to 70%. It is an important sector and is being awarded for the first time." Singh explained.
(Writing by Becky Du Editing by Harry Huo)
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