Steel Ministry to look into import duty on metal scraps

The Steel Ministry has assured the metal recycling industry to look into their demand on removal of 5 per cent customs duty on metal scrap imports. Steel Secretary Aruna Sundararajan assured the industry that the ministry will look into import duty structure on imports of all types of metal scraps that attract about 5 per cent customs duty, industry body Metal Recycling Association of India (MRAI) said in a statement. Sundararajan, speaking at an international conference on metal recycling in India, said that first set of policy measures on this issue would be taken up shortly. The association said the customs duty is making imports unviable for scrap importers. Accepting the long pending demand of the industry, she said the Ministry will look into framing a national policy on metal Recycling.

Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar said that at a time when global economy is undergoing a phase of recession and when resources globally are depleting, India needs to focus on recycling to reasonably use the available resources.

On MRAI’s demand on review of foreign trade agreements (FTAs), Kumar said a formal communication has been made to the Commerce Ministry to review the FTAs and the issue will be reviewed with the Finance Ministry too. He assured the industry that government is serious on ensuring the ‘ease-of-doing’ business and the Prime Minister has asked the Group of Secretaries to freeze Action Plans to address concerns in each area.

For the metal recycling sector also, the requisite attention will be paid, he added. MRAI President Sanjay Mehta said: “We are happy that the Steel and Mines Ministries have agreed to look into our long pending demands. We hope to see the Metal Recycling Policy soon and abolishment of import duty on metal scarp.” MRAI also urged the government to set up a pre-shipment inspection infrastructure, mainly scanners at key ports. The need is felt immensely due to the existing standard operating practice worldwide, where scrap imports are scanned at the port of destination for radio activity and identification. In India, government has installed scanners at few ports in India, but many are not working, forcing importers to pay inspection charges from their pockets, which are to the tune of Rs 1,100 crore.