India mulls emergency tariffs on some steel products

GENEVA/NEW DELHI Thu May 2, 2013 4:52pm IST

A worker sits on steel pipes at a steel pipes market in Mumbai July 11, 2008. REUTERS/Arko Datta/Files

A worker sits on steel pipes at a steel pipes market in Mumbai July 11, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Arko Datta/Files

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GENEVA/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India is considering emergency tariffs on some iron and steel pipes, tubes and profiles to protect its domestic industry from imports, primarily from China and Italy, Delhi said in a World Trade Organization filing seen by Reuters.

Jindal Saw Ltd and Indian Seamless Metal Tubes Ltd, which account for more than half of India's production of seamless pipes and tubes, asked the government to impose tariffs after their profits fell by more than three-quarters from 2011-2012, according to details of the case published by India's Customs & Central Excise office.

WTO member countries are allowed to use temporary tariffs if they can show there is a real threat of damage to the domestic industry from a surge of imports, although such claims can be challenged by other countries.

Imports of the products have arrived in India at an annualised rate of 373,777 tonnes in 2012-2013, the filing said. Although that was 12.1 percent less than in 2011-2012, domestic production has still suffered a decline of 18.2 percent to an annnualised rate of 261,003 tonnes in 2012-2013.

India currently uses little more than a third of its annual production capacity of 685,000 tonnes.

WTO members are obliged to tell the WTO if they are investigating the possibility of tariffs to safeguard an industry, which does not necessarily mean they will go ahead. India invited interested parties to respond within 30 days. (Reporting by Tom Miles and Krishna N. Das; editing by Jason Neely and Jane Baird)

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