Steel Import Regulation in India


India being a net importer of steel is fairly an open & WTO compliant market for many countries to trade its steel products.

For the past year and a half, many must be pondering over the announcements of BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) on regulation for steel imports. Though some of them in the trade are fairly apprised of the regulation, it can still be a jinx for many.

This article helps in understanding this steel import regulation in India, which is BIS approval

Owing to concern on the quality of steel being imported, there have been some initiatives to prune on the quality front, to have a check on the inflow of inferior quality and to maintain quality standards.

BIS, a government regulatory body has made it mandatory for all the steel companies (manufacturers) to get themselves approved and registered under BIS, to sell steel in India.

These regulation necessitates all steel mills wanting to export its products to India to apply for the BIS registration, along with all requisite documents, and have the mill audited.  BIS registration can be a fairly time consuming process and companies applying for it should already have this in mind.

It should also be noted that not all steel products come under the gamut of BIS regulation.

I have divided the list to flat and long products and highlighted the products that fall under BIS and have also enlisted the products that are exempt of it.

BIS is Mandatory for following Products:

Flat Products:

  1. Hot Rolled Coils – Carbon Steel –  All dimensions- SS400, S235,275,355,40,500,etc.,
  2. Hot Rolled plates -Medium & high tensile structural steel – SS400, S235,275,355,400,500 etc.,
  3. Boiler quality carbon steel plates – Intermediate and high temperature – SA 515, 516, gr 60, 65, 70 all equivalent of it viz., P235NH, GH, P265 GH etc., – All dimensions.
  4. Cold Rolled Grain Oriented
  5. Cold Rolled non grain oriented –  Fully processed ( Watt loss not exceeding by 5.3 watt/kg or 1.5 Tesla/50Hz)
  6. Cold rolled non grain oriented  – semi processed ( Watt loss not exceeding by 5.3 watt/kg or 1.5 Tesla/50Hz)
  7. Plain & corrugated Galvanized coils/ sheets

The initial notifications exempted thickness > 80 mm and < 6mm from BIS. But subsequent notifications have made BIS mandatory for these dimensions as well.

In general all Hot rolled carbon steel flat products comes under this regulation.

All Alloy Steel flat products does not fall under BIS.

Following Flat products are exempt of BIS:

  1. All Cold rolled products, other than electrical steel mentioned above.
  2. Galvannealed
  3. Galvalume (bare)
  4. Galfan
  5. Aluzinc
  6. All pre-painted steel
  7. Aluminized steel
  8. Tin Plate
  9. Stainless Steel –  Coils /  Sheets –  Hot and Cold Rolled. 

Long Products & Semis:

Following long products fall under BIS regulation

Similar to Flat products all carbon steel semis (irrespective of dimension) are subjected to BIS regulation

  1. Ingots
  2. Billets
  3. Blooms
  4. Slabs
  5. Re bars  8 mm and above
  6. Structural grade wire rods and wires
  7. Beams –  610 <Depth <= 1016 mm
  8. Columns – 305 <size <= 356
  9. Angles –  between 50x50x4 to 100x100x8

Following Long products are exempt from BIS:

  1. Pipes/ tubes (ERW, Seamless, CDW)
  2. Alloy steel semis –  Billets, Blooms, Slabs, Ingots.
  3. Alloy steel bars ( hexagons, square, flat, rounds, octagons)
  4. Alloy steel wire rods and wires
  5. Stainless steel bars ( flat, round, square,hexagon, octagon)
  6.  Re-bars less than 8 mm.
  7. Bulb Flats.

Having gone through the products that does/ doesn’t fall under BIS, there can be a question of what is the definition of alloy steel and what is the minimum alloying content required to qualify as an alloy steel.  The definition of alloy steel according to Indian customs is given below,

Definition of Alloy Steel:

If any of the following alloying element is greater than or equal to below mentioned level, the steel will fall under alloy steel category.

Steel not complying with the definition of stainless steel and containing by weight one or more of the following elements in the proportion shown:

–        0.3% or more of aluminium

–        0.0008% or more of boron

–        0.3% or more of chromium

–        0.3% or more of cobalt

–        0.4% or more of copper

–        0.4% or more of lead

–        1.65% or more of manganese

–        0.08% or more of molybdenum

–        0.3% or more of nickel

–        0.06% or more of niobium

–        0.6% or more of silicon

–        0.05% or more of titanium

–        0.3% or more of tungsten (wolfram)

–        0.1% or more of vanadium

–        0.05% or more of zirconium

–        0.1% or more of other elements (except sulphur, phosphorus, carbon and nitrogen), taken separately.

The initiative from BIS to dissuade the import of inferior quality is undisputable, but looking at the time taken to get the BIS registration, one tends to ponder if this is a way to insulate the domestic industry from cheap imports.

No wonder India still continues to receive quite a good amount of hot rolled coils, plates, wire rods from China with Boron added which does not fall under BIS !!

One thought on “Steel Import Regulation in India

Leave a Reply