Aluminium body seeks import duty hike, reduction in raw material cost


Bhubaneswar: Ahead of the national budget, Aluminium Association of India (AAI) has urged the Government to take measures to hike import duty on primary aluminum, scrap and downstream products and rationalise costs of raw materials.

“Immediate measures like increased import duty on primary aluminum, scrap and downstream aluminium products are required along with rationalisation of input costs of critical raw material of aluminium value chain to help domestic industry retain competitiveness,” said AAI vice president Rahul Sharma in a press communiqué.

India’s demand for aluminium is expected to double to over 7 million tonnes in next five years, and as such the industry has invested over Rs 1.2 lakh crore to enhance capacity to 4 MTPA to cater to increasing demand. The sector is also one of the largest job creators with more than eight lakh direct and indirect employment, said Sharma.

In the last few years, steel has received policy support from the Government that has enabled the industry to immune itself from global market volatility and reduce dependence on import and excess supplies. Government support has resulted in a drop of steel imports by 21% in last 3 years. In contrast, a lack of similar policy support pushed the aluminium industry to register highest ever aluminium import of 23 lakh tonnes in FY19, that is 58% of India’s demand, resulting in a forex outgo of Rs 38,000 crore, he added.

In the current circumstances, Indian aluminium industry requires the government to extend policy measures in line with what has been extended to steel. Current volatility of aluminium LME prices crashed by $550/MT in last one year and the restrictive measures taken by China, USA and other key markets to protect their indigenous markets from imports are making India more vulnerable as a dumping ground for primary metal, scrap and secondary products, thereby adversely affecting the competitiveness of the domestic industry, he further said.

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