November 13, 2018 / 11:49 AM / a month ago

Indian steelmaker warns of import surge if China trade deepens

NEW DELHI, Nov 13 (Reuters) - India’s largest maker of stainless steel, Jindal Stainless (Hisar) Ltd, warned on Tuesday that New Delhi’s decision to sign a new trade deal with China could lead to a surge in cheaper imports and hurt domestic producers.

Delhi-based Jindal Stainless, whose quarterly profit dropped for the first time in more than a year, said the inclusion of flat stainless steel products in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) would force some small Indian steel companies to close.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will take part in the latest talks on RCEP, touted as a free trade deal that will encompass more than a third of the world’s gross domestic product.

The pact involves 16 countries, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, but not the United States.

“India will become a dumping ground for all goods through this open door policy approach by the government,” Jindal Stainless said in a statement.

India is already staring at higher stainless steel imports this year, with overseas purchases at 453,693 million tonnes in the first five months of fiscal 2018/19, 94 percent of total purchases in the previous year.

Earlier this year, India launched an investigation into subsidised production and exports of welded stainless steel pipes and tubes from China and Vietnam. (Reporting by Neha Dasgupta; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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