India's trade ministry has recommended anti-dumping duties ranging from $180 to $306 per tonne for some industrial-grade stainless steel imported from China, Malaysia and South Korea in a bid to protect local industry.
After a year-long investigation based on complaints from Jindal Stainless Ltd, the trade ministry said it found that the domestic industry was suffering "material injury due to such dumped imports" and that a definitive measure was required to stop it.
The recommendations, made public on Wednesday, are expected to be implemented by the finance ministry within three weeks and will stem the flow of surging imports, N.C. Mathur, president of the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association, said.
Mathur said the grades subject to the dumping duty can cost $1,270-$2,070 per tonne and are used mainly to make equipment for industries like dairy, oil refinery and railways.
India consumes about 1 million tonne of this type of stainless steel and more than 40 percent of that is imported, mainly from China, a trade which is growing at up to 15 percent a year.
China's annual stainless steel surplus is more than 4 million tonnes, compared with India's annual demand of about 2.6 million tonnes and which leads to cheap supplies coming in from China, Mathur said.
Steelmakers from Asia to Europe are facing increasing pressure from a rise in cheap imports as Russia and Ukraine, armed with weaker currencies, join China in pushing surplus output on to world markets.
Many steel companies in India, such as Tata Steel, JSW Steel and Kalyani Steels, have seen profits come under pressure.
Jindal Stainless shares ended up 10 percent at 40.50 rupees on Wednesday on the duty recommendations, their highest closing price in 2.5 months.
Mathur said the steel industry also welcomed the government's decision to provide for an increase in the import duty on steel to 15 percent without any major procedural delays. Earlier, the government had set a limit of 10 percent while the actual duties are below that.
The provision will allow the government to raise the duty whenever it wants just with a notification, Mathur said.