India seeks Japanese investment in steel sector as it curbs imports

26, Feb. 2020

Ambassador of Japan to India Satoshi Suzuki (Far L) speaking at a workshop titled ‘Enabling Procedures for Increase of Steel Usage for the Growth of Economy’, in New Delhi on Feb. 24, 2020. (NNA)
Ambassador of Japan to India Satoshi Suzuki (Far L) speaking at a workshop titled ‘Enabling Procedures for Increase of Steel Usage for the Growth of Economy’, in New Delhi on Feb. 24, 2020. (NNA)

NEW DELHI, NNA - As India is planning to restrict steel imports, the country is urging Japanese steel makers to invest in India instead and enter into technology transfer partnerships to tap the fast-growing local market.

India’s minister for steel and petroleum & natural gas Dharmendra Pradhan said massive projects such as new housing construction, railways, roads, water pipelines and 16,000 kilometers of new gas pipeline over the next few years would require huge quantities of steel.

Lauding Japan’s technological competence, he urged Japanese producers to enter the Indian market as the country will stop importing high-grade steel. The minister was speaking at a workshop on ‘Enabling Procedures for Increase of Steel Usage for the Growth of Economy’ in New Delhi on Monday.

The two countries, which are two of the world's leading steel producers, will explore potential collaborations in India's steel sector. They plan to hold the first round of the ‘India-Japan Steel Dialogue’ early this year following the signing of a memorandum of cooperation in December 2019.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the ministry of steel of India are working on launching the dialogue early this year, Japanese ambassador to India Satoshi Suzuki said at the workshop.

The dialogue aims to examine various aspects of cooperation including investment in high-grade steel making and new avenues of steel usage in India.

Suzuki said, “As major steel producers, it’s vital for India and Japan to jointly work to serve the world steel market.”

Indian steel producers, which had been reeling under the threat of imports flooding the market, have called for import restrictions after suffering a slump in output and prices.

However, India has managed to replace Japan as the world’s second largest steel producing country, according to the World Steel Association (WSA). India’s crude steel production for 2019 stood at 111.2 million tons, compared to Japan’s 99.3 million tons.

In the last fiscal year ended March 2019, India imported 8.8 million tons of steel products. Imports from its top three sources - South Korea, China and Japan - were 3.1 million tons, 1.8 million tons and 1.2 million tons, respectively, according to Care Ratings Ltd.