An Indian association of secondary aluminium manufacturers issued a scathing rebuke to comments made last week by the Aluminium Association of India calling for restrictions on aluminium imports from the People’s Republic of China.
In a letter issued to India’s Business Standard, carbon-copied to Aluminium Insider, and signed by Anil Agarwal, Indian trade group Aluminium Secondary Manufacturers Association (ASMA) defended the thousands of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the secondary aluminium market, challenging the assertions made by AAI and reported upon in an article published in last week’s newspaper.
With a withering opening salvo charging the article as a “one sided” piece with “moulded” data, ASMA charges the AAI with being a “mouthpiece” for primary aluminium producers Hindalco and Vedanta, which is “misused by them from time to time for their personal gains.”
The letter continues by saying that the country’s major primary producers have been manipulating the Indian government to the profound detriment of their 3,500 compatriot secondary small- and medium-sized secondary aluminium producers.
“During these 2/3 years period, they have approached Director General of Safeguards, Director General of Anti Dumping Duty, Ministry of Mines and Commerce for imposing of minimum import price etc. but all in vain, because of the alert and strict opposition by our association and all the units, at all levels. Now once again in a fresh attempt by convincing and in connivance with some officials, they want to get the Government policies remoulded to favour them which we cannot allow them at any cost. They being the big industrial houses, taking undue advantage of their contacts at highest level including all ministries and departments.”
The letter continues by charging that the rise in total aluminium imports from US$3.47 billion in 2016-17 to US$4.5 billion the following year is little more than a manipulation of data.
“Though there is slight increase in import of scrap and alloyed ingots but there is reduction in the import of primary metal which is being manufactured by the primary producers. The increase in terms of value is because of increase in price of aluminium at international level by US$ 600 to $750 PMT in the last one year.”
ASMA continues by stating that the assertion that China is dumping scrap aluminium on India is false, as the entirety of imports from the Middle Kingdom consists of finished aluminium.
Rather, states ASMA, the scrap imported from abroad is used to produce aluminium alloys used in automotive manufacturing. Should the supply of scrap aluminium from abroad be cut off, posits ASMA, the slack would be taken up by imported ingot from ASEAN countries under a free-trade agreement, leading to significant job losses by Indian producers.
ASMA continues by noting that Indian primary aluminium producers are among the world’s least expensive producers of the metal and, thanks to import barriers erected by New Delhi, they are able to command even larger margins than the significant profits they’d ordinarily realize.
“Hence, there is no end to greed and they are filling up their coffers with the help of Government policies, at the cost of small and medium industrial units which they do not deserve.”
As of press time, The Aluminium Association of India has not responded to the Aluminium Secondary Manufacturers Association’s comments.