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India may levy import duty, cut export tax on steel
October, 15th 2008

India may impose an import duty on steel and withdraw a 15 per cent export tax to help domestic firms like Tata Steel Ltd and Steel Authority of India Ltd following a slump in prices, the steel minister said on Wednesday.

Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters the government would consider the proposal on Friday.

Global steel prices have fallen more than a fifth from this year's peak in June and July, hurting firms such as South Korea's POSCO, the world's No 4 steelmaker, which has given a grim business outlook due to slowing demand growth.

"Tata and SAIL met me and said: 'International prices are falling. So we have a problem.' They suggested export duty should be scrapped and import duty should be imposed. We are meeting on Oct 17 to consider this," Paswan said.

India's steel imports in April-September, the first half of the fiscal year, rose by half to about 3 mn tonnes, according to media reports.

Shares in Tata Steel were down 7.3 per cent at 282.50 rupees by 1:52 pm (0822 GMT) in a weak Mumbai market that was down 4.8 per cent. The stock has fallen about 70 percent this year.

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