The Delhi Stainless Steel Trade Association (DSSTA), which represents small-scale stainless steel companies operating in the Delhi region, has written to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding action on the huge surge of cheap stainless steel products imports, particularly from China.

According to the DSSTA cheap Chinese imports have reduced the Indian stainless steel industry's capacity utilisation rate to just over 50%.

China has increased its production of stainless steel over the past decade and today accounts for more than 50% of total global production. In 2004 its global share was just 4% and this, claims the DSSTA, is because Chinese producers pay zero duty on basic raw materials and 10% custom duty, which protect China's domestic industry.

The DSSTA wants zero customs duty on nickel and melting scrap based on the fact that the there is no domestic availability of these raw materials, which are crucial for stainless steel production. It is also calling for an increase in customs duty to 15% on finished stainless steel flat products.

Urgent action is needed, claims the DSSTA, and it wants Prime Minister Modi to consider its requests in the forthcoming budget as jobs are at stake, it says.