New Delhi: India could soon see a jump in steel exports to
countries that are looking to strengthen their oil and gas export
infrastructure, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, and steel
Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday.
Using his dual role in steel and oil ministries to the advantage of the domestic industry, Pradhan said India has been importing oil and gas from several countries, but in all the exporting nations, there is very little or no presence of Indian steel in the massive infrastructure put up for trade.
"Now we have started asking them to give a preference to Indian steel companies for meeting their needs," Pradhan said speaking at the first Chintan Shivir: Towards a Vibrant, Efficient and Globally Competitive Indian Steel Sector.
The Ministry of Steel is organized the day-long 'Chintan Shivir' where it held deliberations among key stakeholders to further the growth of the Indian steel industry by arriving at a strategy to make the sector vibrant, efficient, environment-friendly and globally competitive.
The Indian steel industry is in the midst of a fresh crisis with prices remaining stable or failing while there is no pick up in demand. The domestic industry is also struggling because of the surplus global production and ongoing US-China trade war. Several steel operations have already been referred for bankruptsy.
Pradhan, however, struck a confident note. He said: "Currently we are importing 2 or 3 million tonnes of steel, in the coming two to three years, India will be a net exporter of steel for a long time to come."
Commenting on the role of free trade agreements and how they impact the steel sector, Pradhan said, "The domestic industry should also look at means to produce cost effective quality steel similar to other countries to gain the most from FTAs with India."
He also favoured maximizing the use of mineral resources such as iron ore for steel production within the country. He said there is a need to bring down the export of natural resource to zero.
The domestic mining industry has been demanding lower export duty on high grade iron ore so that excess production in the country could be exported.
The minister also wondered whether there was a need for a ministry of steel at all as the sector was free from any administrative control and was functioning independent of the government.