India’s commerce ministry to monitor imports of aluminium, copper

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Rolls of copper sheets. Copper — a bellwether for the global economy — rose as much as 2.4% to $ 9,780 a tonne in London last week, the highest since August 2011. An IAC file photo.

The directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) has said in a notification that the import policy for copper and aluminium has been amended from “free” to “free with compulsory registration” under the non-ferrous metal import monitoring system (NFMIMS). The NFMIMS will be effective from 12 April, 2021.

In line with the import monitoring system for steel and coal, the government has now decided to put in place a mechanism to monitor imports of aluminium and copper to capture disaggregated data for effective monitoring and policy intervention. NFMIMS would cover 99.5 per cent imports of aluminium, currently valued at Rs 5,000 crore.

The government’s decision to launch a mechanism similar to the one for the steel sector will help domestic producers of non-ferrous metal such as Vedanta, Nalco, Hindalco and Hindustan Copper chalk out strategies to substitute imports.

With this, the commerce ministry has made import registration compulsory for 46 copper and 43 aluminium items under non-ferrous metal import monitoring system, a move which could discourage inbound shipments of such goods and promote their local manufacturing.

Under NFMIMS, the importer can apply for registration not earlier than the 60th day and not later than the fifth day before the expected date of arrival of the import consignment. The automatic number shall remain valid for 75 days.

The importer shall have to enter the registration number and expiry date for registration in the Bill of Entry to enable customs for clearance of the consignment, the notification said.

The copper items under this scheme will include blister copper, refined copper, copper bars, certain copper rod, copper alloys and sanitary ware. Aluminium products will include ingots, wire rods, aluminium scrap, aluminium powder for thermite process, certain aluminium tubes and pipes.

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