India doesn't expect immediate hit on steel exports after U.S. import curbs: government official

A worker observes an electric furnace inside a steel factory on the outskirts of Jammu February 12, 2018. Picture taken February 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India does not expect any immediate impact from U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose curbs on steel imports, the steel ministry’s top bureaucrat said on Friday.

Trump announced on Thursday he would impose hefty tariffs on imported steel and aluminum to protect U.S. producers, risking retaliation from major trade partners like China, Europe and neighboring Canada.

“We have only 2 percent of our exports to U.S. so no immediate dent, but validity of Section 232 is stretched to be used as tariff barrier,” India’s Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma told Reuters, referring to the U.S. trade clause being invoked.

The Trade Expansion Act of 1962, Section 232(b) gives the United States the ability to investigate whether certain imports, or high levels of certain imports, pose a threat to national security.

Reporting by Neha Dasgupta; editing by Richard Pullin