Government reduces import duty on steel; association welcomes move

The Metal Container Manufacturers’ Association (MCMA) has welcomed the recent announcement for reduction of 5% custom duty for all iron and steel items. This includes tinplate/ tin free steel which is a raw material for the metal packaging Industry. As per an official press release, "The announcement by the Finance Minister is very timely, and keeping in mind the exorbitant increase by the domestic producers for these products." There was a 20% rise in local prices.

13 Feb 2021 | By Rahul Kumar

Bhatia: Tinplate prices have hit the roof

The metal packaging industry is largely dependent upon the import of tinplate/ tin-free steel - and has been under tremendous pressure since there is a shortage of raw material. The MCMA had urged the government to resolve the issue.

The MCMA statement (issued on 11 February 2021) says, "Our association represents the interest of a large number of MSMEs engaged in the manufacture of tin containers and closures. Sadly this reduction in the import duty may not help the metal packaging Industry as the exporters of tinplate/ tin-free steel are not accepting the orders for supplying these materials to India in the wake of applicability of steel and steel products Quality Control order dated 17 July 2020 which is effective from 17 April 2021."

The MCMA affirms that more measures and support is needed that would help "revive" the metal packaging industry.  The official MCMA statement says, "The policy makers are silent about the mandatory imposition of BIS standard on tinplate/ tin-free steel and tinplate products like easy open end, peel off ends etc., as per QCO dated 17 July 2020."

This is a major contention for the metal packaging industry. When WhatPackaging? asked Sanjay Bhatia (president of MCMA), in what way has the BIS impacted the metal packaging industry? He said, "Already there is a wide gap of approximately 2.5-lakh MT between demand and supply of domestic tinplate in India. Due to the Covid situation, international tinplate manufacturers are not in a position to get certifications under BIS (steel and steel products quality control order). But the steel ministry is adamant about imposing the BIS and not even willing to accommodate equivalent ISO standards. This has kept the foreign tinplate suppliers out of the country and the Indian producers are unable to produce enough material to meet the demand. Additionally, prices of tinplate have hit the roof." Read the Big Interview here

The crux of the matter is: There is a demand-supply gap of 250,000 tonnes per annum - and the metal packaging industry has to fill that gap through imports.

The MCMA statement says, "If the Government does not look into the issue on priority it is apprehended that its implementation will seriously affect the trade and industry engaged in the metal packaging sector and will result in loss of employment and non-availability of metal packaging to essential sectors like food and pharma.