The US-Chinese tariff conflict, which recently escalated, has unnerved Indian steel producers. They fear that China could dump excess steel on India in the hope of making up for losses incurred by their metal industry, which has been hit by Washington’s efforts to offset its trade deficit with Beijing, Reuters reports.
The Indian steel industry has asked the country’s government to protect it from growing Chinese imports and to introduce 25 percent safeguard duties on metals allegedly being dumped on India at prices below the production cost.
Reuters reports that during a meeting last month JSW, the Steel Authority of India, Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and Power, which control the country’s steel production, had asked government officials for protection amid the US-Chinese tariff row.
According to the news agency, Steel Secretary Binoy Kumar indicated that global surplus capacity poses a risk to the country’s industry and expressed the opinion that India needs protection from predatory imports. However, he also revealed that the decision regarding safeguard duties is yet to be made. Reuters was not given comments from the Steel Ministry and the involved companies.
However, the agency cited a government source as voicing concern at the possible impact of the trade conflict between Beijing and Washington, saying that this sector in India, which is rated to be the world’s second-largest steel producer, is vulnerable.
“China has excess (steel) capacity and there is a concern they could re-route it through other countries like Vietnam and Cambodia into India”, the source indicated.
Reuters also points out that New Delhi fears that Beijing could re-route the flow of electronic items, toys, furniture, and organic chemicals to other Asian countries.
Relations between Washington and Beijing have been tense since US President Donald Trump last June decided to impose 25 percent tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods in a bid to fix the US-Chinese trade deficit. Since then, the sides have exchanged several rounds of trade duties. During this time, bilateral trade talks to end the dispute have been ongoing.
READ MORE: Trump Says Outcome of China Trade Talks Will Be Known in ‘Three or Four Weeks’
US President Donald Trump recently increased tariffs on around $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from 10 percent to 25 percent. The president also ordered tariffs to be raised on all remaining US imports from China, which are valued at around $300 billion.
In response, Beijing has introduced 25, 20, and 10 percent import duties for 5,410 US products, starting from 1 June.