Piyush Goyal urges Steel Industry to make best use of India Australia ECTA Agreement

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Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Shri Piyush Goyal urged Steel Industry to make best use of the India-Australia Economic Cooperation & Trade Agreement (ECTA) Agreement and look at capturing new opportunities in Australia. He was speaking at the 3rd edition of ISA Steel Conclave in New Delhi today.

Shri Goyal informed the gathering that India-Australia Economic Cooperation & Trade Agreement (ECTA) has been passed by the Australian Parliament. Stating it as a remarkable achievement, he highlighted that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi India is engaging with the developed nations of the world from the position of strength.  Developed countries recognise that the Indian economy will drive world growth, he added. He highlighted that post agreement with Australia all our steel exports to Australia will become duty free. He urged Industry to make best use of this Agreement and look at capturing new opportunities in Australia. He said that these trading agreements with developed countries will usher in new opportunities for our youth, businesses across sectors.

Shri Goyal stated that Steel Industry is the major stakeholder, contributing significantly to the export earnings. He noted that many Indian steel companies are top world class steel suppliers. High Quality products like engines, valves made from Indian steel are testimony to quality steel that the steel industry is producing. He urged them to strive to develop Brand India and observed that the steel industry is the low hanging fruit in India’s integrated efforts to create global recognition of Indian products.

The Minister applauded Steel Industry for remarkable work done by them during covid period. He thanked them for their immense contribution through manufacturing essential equipment required to make medical devices, supplying liquid medical oxygen for covid treatment, noting that many steel companies even curtailed production in order to prioritise liquid medical oxygen.

Shri Goyal opined that the steel industry has a significant growth potential and urged them to achieve the target of 300 million tonnes by 2030. He said with large investments coming in future, Industry will continue to prosper and grow.  He said while many other countries which are large producers of steel are facing severe stress, India has a huge opportunity in terms of large domestic market, cost competitiveness, modern tech, wide range of products and domestic iron ore ability.

The Minister said the Government is working with other countries to explore more market opportunities for our manufacturers, particularly those industries which are competitive, have high quality standards and are globally relevant.  National steel policy 2017 has helped India become the second largest producer of steel, he added.

On withdrawal of export duty on steels and various steel products, Shri Goyal explained that duty was imposed as a temporary measure to maintain price stability and maintain growth momentum in the country. He said these actions taken by the government have resulted in reining in inflation. He appreciated the steel industry for understanding the problem and fully supporting the government’s action.

Shri Goyal said Government’s effort has been to protect Indian Steel Industry through ‘Melt and Pour’ provision in our FTAs. He assured that through this provision only steel that is produced locally in those countries can be imported into India. He opined that Indian Steel Industry will continue to have an edge in the international market with the removal of duties on steel exports.

He also pointed out that availability of coking coal is a major challenge for the Steel Industry. He urged Industry to collaborate with eminent institutions and undertake research to find alternate solutions for this. He emphasised the need for not being dependent on a few countries for coking coal and explore new ways of becoming self-sufficient.

Shri Goyal noted that India’s per capita consumption of Steel is much below the world average and urged the industry to aspire for at least 3X growth to reach the global average.

He said that the rising EV auto market coupled with increasing levels of prosperity will translate into potential business for the steel and aluminium industry. He urged industry to kickstart the process of investment and aid in faster rollout of PLI in Steel.

Shri Goyal advised the industry to undertake collective research in the area of sustainability to reduce carbon footprint. This will also help Indian steel to get a priority over other countries and capture bigger markets and get better value for sustainable steel.

He also urged Captains of Industry to deliberate and work out a mechanism to support small manufacturers and ensure that withdrawal of export duties on steel do not hurt small manufacturers. He also exhorted them to continue supporting MSME Industry and exporters of engineering products.