The Material Recycling Association of India (MRAI) has urged the government to facilitate the availability of copper ore, concentrates and copper scrap of quality grades covered under ISRI specification only as copper is a vital base metal used in power, infrastructure, railway, defence and automotive industries.
Sanjay Mehta, president of MRAI, said during a webinar that India is dependent on copper imports to meet this requirement. Copper cathodes, the primary copper product, is manufactured from copper ore and concentrate imported through Free Trade Agreement route in absence of enough mining reserves. MRAI demanded that the customs duty on copper scrap be slashed down to 2pc from the existing 5pc. India’s copper industry is worth Rs400bn ($5.4bn) annually.
He added that considering India’s focus on electric vehicles, it is important to have a robust domestic manufacturing hub for Copper Value Added Products in India across the entire value chain.
The secondary copper manufacturing sector in India is dependent on imported copper scrap and accounts for more than 60pc of the total production.
The secondary manufacturing units use copper scrap as well as primary copper as raw material as per the global standards of manufacturing practices.
He added that the imports of semi-finished and finished copper and copper alloy foils, sheets, strips, wires, tubes and pipes should be discouraged and the import of copper scrap, alloys of semi-finished and finished goods which are not available in India should be allowed.
MRAI appealed to the government to encourage recycling of good quality of copper scrap in India. Mehta added that India does not import copper scrap or other products from China or any other FTA country so there is no need to impose any restriction on Copper scrap as there is no Free Trade Agreement benefit on copper scrap.
Mehta added that the import of copper cathodes has increased from Japan at the Preferential Duty (0.5pc), however, these imports are by primary producers. Mehta added that the same quality of Cathode (HS Code 740311) can be imported from other countries like Australia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Chile, Zambia, Peru, South Africa, Philippines and Mongolia at a much lower premium, however, duty incidence of 5.5pc makes them impossible.
With this duty reduction not only Copper Semis Industry but automobiles, railways, defence, electrical equipment industries will also be benefited.
Mehta added that over last two years, MRAI worked closely with NITI Aayog on Draft Material Recycling Policy. The commission has prepared a draft policy document called ‘National Materials Recycling Policy’ which awaits approval.