February 14, 2019 / 10:43 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-India could extend deadline on steel import rules for automakers -sources

* Deadline likely to be extended by up to four months -sources

* Automakers had warned of production stoppages ahead of deadline

* Compliance to the new rules had been set for Feb 17 (Adds context, quotes from paragraph 4)

By Neha Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Feb 14 (Reuters) - India is considering extending by four months a compliance deadline on tougher import rules for steel that are aimed at forcing automakers to use locally made alloy, said two sources familiar with the matter.

Compliance to the new rules had been set for Feb. 17, which was an extension of two months, but strict adherence to the regulations would have stalled production for India’s auto industry, a federal minister has warned.

India’s auto manufacturing sector is dominated by Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai Motor Co, Honda Motor Co and Ford Motor Co.

Carmakers continue to rely on imports because they say local steel companies do not manufacture the grades they need, said Sugato Sen, deputy director general of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

SIAM counts Maruti Suzuki, Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), BMW (BMWG.DE) and others as members.

Auto companies want an extension until the end of 2019.

“There are some grades that are not manufactured in India and we may allow those to be kept out of quality control for some more time,” a senior steel ministry official told Reuters on condition of anonymity, as the discussions are not public.

The steel ministry did not immediately reply to a Reuters email seeking further comment.

The ministry had previously objected to an extension as it would delay Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s drive to check imports. It also wants to show the success of its manufacturing programme, which is aimed at building a domestic industrial base to boost jobs and growth. (Reporting by Neha Dasgupta; Editing by Mayank Bhardwaj and Tom Hogue)

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