Indian coal duty cut

Indian coal duty cut
Published: 12 January 2004

The Indian cement industry has termed the Government's move to slash basic customs duty on non-coking coal from 25 per cent to 15 per cent as a "step in the right direction" even as it admitted that the reduction would make " very little difference" for the cement units in the country.  Reacting to the Government announcement, the Secretary-General of the Cement Manufacturers' Association (CMA), Mr AV Srinivasan, told local reporters that most of the non-coking coal imported by the industry is coming in duty-free against export entitlement of cement.  He highlighted that the international prices of coal have nearly doubled in the last 12 to 18 months and that this duty reduction can at best give a "partial relief" to cement units.  At the same time, Mr Srinivasan also noted that those cement units located close to the coast would benefit the most. The cement industry is largely dependent on local supplies for its coal. A cement industry official said that the industry consumes about 17Mt of coal every year. This includes coal imports of about 3.5-4Mt, most of which are imported duty-free against cement export entitlement.