Aluminium industry asks government to hike import duty

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) India’s aluminium industry on Friday called on the government to raise duties on import of the metal to stem the flow of cheap imports from China.

An Aluminium Association of India delegation, led by Vedanta Group chief executive Tom Albanese, Hindalco deputy managing director D.Satish Pai and Nalco chairman T.K.Chand, met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley here to impress upon him the need to hike duties to prevent imports from impacting industry investments of over Rs.100,000 crore.

“We are here to present aluminium industry’s case and the difficulty we are facing. Finance minister gave us a patient hearing. He is aware of our situation and we are quite sure that he will take the right decision,” Pai told reporters here after the meeting.

Imports accounted for 56 percent of aluminium consumption in 2014-15, having grown by over 159 percent to 1,563 kilo tonnes (KT) in 2015, compared to 881 KT in 2011, mainly from China and Middle Eastern countries.

China accounts for more than 50 percent of world aluminium production, while their exports to India have surged by 200 percent in the last fiscal as compared to in 2010-11.

An official source told IANS after the meeting that the government has asked the industry to provide performance figures of various companies for it to study whether a hike in import duty is necessary.

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month told parliament that the government was considering a request for doubling the duty on aluminium imports to 10 percent, following representations that import of aluminium scrap and the metal’s decreasing global prices are adversely impacting the industry in India.

India’s aluminium demand has been growing at an annual rate of about 11 percent, compared to a global growth of 6 percent. Imports rose 4 percent to 390,000 tonnes in the first quarter of this fiscal ending June, compared to that in the same period a year ago.

Last month, the Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta subsidiary Balco, said it had shut down its aluminium rolling business owing to a steep fall in the prices, besides dumping of the metal by China, and falling margins.

Vedanta Aluminium also said last month that it has started the process of cutting down its Lanjigarh facility’s production by 50 percent that would impact up to 2,000 jobs.

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