Paswan: Decision on steel import duty within a week
Government will take a decision on levying import duty on steel within a week, Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday said.?

"The finance ministry has sought pricing details of steel products to take a final call on imposing import duty on all categories of steel," Paswan told reporters on the sidelines of a metal conference in ?New Delhi.?

Endorsing domestic industry's concern that India faces a threat of cheaper steel dumping from countries such as China and Ukraine, the steel ministry has recommended levying of 10 percent import duty on steel.?

Asked if the current economic crisis could take a toll on expansion plans of domestic steel companies, Paswan said the proposed brownfield projects are expected to be completed on time, but there could be a little delay in greenfield ones.?

India has set a target of reaching 124 million tonnes of steel production by 2012 through brownfield expansions and 280 million tonnes by 2020 mostly through greenfield projects.?

At present, however, domestic steel makers are struggling to sell off their produce due to slump in demand and so have decided to cut productions by over 20 percent.?

Other than JSW, Essar and Ispat, which have announced lowering their outputs, state-run SAIL has said its production would be as per the market demand.?

Even as steel plants are running below their rated capacities, Paswan denied any major cuts by the producers.?

To a question on whether the steel ministry is seeking blanket ban on exports of iron ore, Paswan favoured phase-wise restriction on overseas shipments of the raw material and also a higher duty on it.?

"As nearly 5 lakh people are employed in iron ore mining industry, putting a blanket ban on exports would deprive them of their livelihood, which should not happen," Paswan said.
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