India takes steps to restrict copper, aluminum imports

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FurAccording to the Indian Financial Express, the country is intending to take a leaf out of the European Union’s book and introducing an import surveillance scheme for aluminum and copper imports.

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India’s rising copper, aluminum imports

Like the E.U.’s scheme, the scheme will require importers to first register and then report imports. That way, the authorities can track the source and volume of imports.

Specifically, the government is focused on imports from China and other southeast Asian markets, the article notes.

Only by accumulating hard data can the country develop sensible policies, promoters of the scheme argue.

As such, China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand are among the major exporters of copper. Those countries accounted for 45% of India’s $5 billion in copper imports for 2019-2020, the article reports.

Meanwhile, aluminum imports amounted to nearly as much at $4.4 billion worth in 2019-2020. Of those imports, some 58% has been in the form of scrap this year.

China checked in as the biggest supplier, shipping aluminum worth just over $1 billion. Furthermore, the country has been a major supplier of semi-finished products, sometimes competing directly with India’s substantial domestic producers.

“China is a huge threat to India’s aluminium industry,” said B.K. Bhatia, joint secretary general at Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), the country’s biggest mining lobby.

Duties down the road?

The E.U.’s scheme, which ran for some 18 months, ultimately led to the imposition of anti-dumping duties on many aluminum products.

Something similar may happen in India.

The aim of the tighter surveillance would be to move copper and aluminum imports onto a restricted items list. That would require importers to get a government-issued license for every shipment.

From there, India could decide to impose quotas or duties on copper and aluminum imports — or both, as happened in Europe with some stainless steel products.

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