To boost India-New Zealand bilateral ties, the finance ministry is eager to consider exempting the 5% customs duty on weak coking coal for steel makers using the blast furnace route. It has asked the steel ministry if it wanted a zero duty window.
Anticipating export losses to India, the New Zealand government had suggested extending the exemption to producers using the blast furnace technology.
Its officials told commerce and industry minister Mr Anand Sharma that more than 90% of their export of coal to India fell in the category where weak coking coal is imported by steel makers using this technology.
In a letter on June 18, Mr Sunil Mitra finance secretary informed steel secretary Mr Pradeep Kumar Misra that his ministry had received many representations from domestic steel producers seeking duty exemption on a certain variety of weak coking coal imported by them. The ministry agreed to it for all producers except those using the BF system.
Mr Mitra told the steel secretary that “The New Zealand High Commission too has taken up the matter of extending the said exemption to these producers. This development is likely to adversely impact trade between New Zealand and India about which concerns were raised by them during the recent visit of our commerce and industry minister to their country.”