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Indian government to revisit scrap import duty structure

India – India’s steel ministry has assured the nation’s recycling industry that it will consider the requested removal of 5% customs duty on metal scrap imports, it was announced at last week’s international conference staged by the Metal Recycling Association of India (MRAI).

Government officials will take a closer look at the duty structure on imports of all types of metal scrap that attract around 5% customs duty, it has been confirmed by Aruna Sundararajan, the ministry’s secretary of steel. The first policy decisions on this pressing issue as well as on the wider market of metal recycling would follow shortly, she added.

In light of the economic downturn and resource scarcity, India must focus on recycling to achieve ‘reasonable’ use of available resources, delegates were told by secretary of mines Balvinder Kumar. The ‘ease of doing business’ for recyclers should be backed with solid legislation, he acknowledged.

Kumar went on to stress that a formal request had been sent to the commerce ministry to review foreign trade agreements, as MRAI had demanded. This matter will also be reviewed with the finance ministry, it was noted.

MRAI’s president Sanjay Mehta commented: ‘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 abolition of import duty on metal scrap.’

Mehta took the opportunity to highlight the need for a pre-shipment inspection infrastructure -mainly scanners at key ports – for the purpose of radiation detection and quick identification. To date, the Indian government has installed scanners at only a few ports across the country and technical problems with some of this equipment has forced importers to pay heavy inspection charges of up to Rs 1100 crore (US$ 1265).

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