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|19 September, 2018

India considers raising import duty on steel to support rupee

In the three months to end-June, India became a net steel importer for the first time in two years

A worker rides his bicycle past steel rims in a dockyard at Mumbai Port Trust in Mumbai November 17, 2014.

A worker rides his bicycle past steel rims in a dockyard at Mumbai Port Trust in Mumbai November 17, 2014.

REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade

NEW DELHI - India's steel ministry has proposed increasing the effective import duty on some steel products to 15 percent from current rates ranging from 5 percent to 12.5 percent, according to two sources and a government document reviewed by Reuters, as the country looks to support the rupee.

The proposal, which is part of a broader government plan to cut "non-necessary" imports to stop an outflow of dollars that has sent the rupee to record lows, will be discussed in the trade ministry on Wednesday, according to one of the sources involved in the matter.

"The broader message is to address the trade balance but we will try to promote 'Make in India' by encouraging domestic (steel) production," said the source, who declined to be named ahead of a possible decision.

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The source said there was no certainty that the proposed duty would be imposed.

The steel and trade ministries did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

In the three months to end-June, India became a net steel importer for the first time in two years, with foreign supplies reaching 2.1 million tonnes, up 15 percent from a year earlier, according to official data.

In calendar 2017, India imported more than 7 million tonnes of steel from countries including South Korea, Japan and China.

(Reporting by Neha Dasgupta; Writing by Krishna N. Das; editing by Richard Pullin)

© Reuters News 2018

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