NEW DELHI : India, in ongoing talks on several Free Trade Agreements, may push for clauses to ensure that steel products imported from the partner country are manufactured in that country rather than being routed through it, Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the 4th Edition of ISA Steel Conclave virtually, the minister said that these clauses will ensure that the Indian steel industry is protected from dumping from the developed world.
India is negotiating FTAs with a host of countries including the UK and EU. The inclusion of this clause in the FTAs is expected to prevent FTA countries from becoming transit points to dump steel from non-FTA countries, such as China, into India.
“I have had discussion with the steel industry that either we have melt and pour clause that we have done in the case of some trade agreement for the very first time or include a very high value add clause to ensure nobody misuses FTA access that India will open up and simultaneously getting access into other countries for our steel and engineering products,” Goyal said.
‘Melt and pour’ means the steel should be made from scratch in the FTA partner country. It should not be the case that a third country ships steel ingots or other primary products to the partner country and then just melts it and gives it shape before exporting and claiming duty concessions under the FTA.
Separately, the minister also expressed concern over the proposed EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism—the carbon tax—and said the government has taken it up with the EU and is putting it up before the WTO.
“We are fighting to get a fair deal for Indian producers and exporters on CBAM. We are also conscious that they must allow the common but differentiated responsibilities or provide funding and technology support that was committed before the Paris Agreement took shape, which has yet to happen,” the minister said.
But I can assure you that India will not be accepting unfair taxes or unfair levies being put on Indian steel industry. We shall be focusing our energies to get other countries on board to address this very serious concern that CBAM has generated. Let us not be scared of it. But let us find solutions which will be to India’s advantage going forward,” the minister added.
Earlier Goyal made a call to raise steel consumption in the country that remained low at 77 kg per capita. He said that goal should not only be to raise steel consumption to the levels developed countries but India should set new benchmarks.
The minister also lauded the efforts of the steel ministry over its brand India campaign where certain steel grades would carry a new made in India marking and said that India may also soon come out with a make in India brand building policy that will encourage branding exercise in various sectors.
He also said that a make in India brand building policy is being looked at by the government to establish made in India brands globally.