Japan Current Affairs - 2019
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Union Cabinet has approved renewal of long-term agreements (LTAs) for export of iron ore (lumps and fines) of grade +64% Fe content to Japan and South Korea for another five years (2018 to 2023) through state-owned trading firm MMTC. The range of quantity of iron ore to be exported will be 3.8 million tonnes per annum to 5.5 million tonnes per annum.
Export of iron ore under LTAs will help India to strengthen its bilateral ties with long-standing partner countries, Japan and South Korea by securing export market and result in inflow of foreign exchange. It will enable India to secure international market for its ores and ensure stable economic ecosystem which provides direct and indirect employment in mining, logistics and related sectors.
India has been exporting iron ore to Japan for almost past six decades and it has been consistent component of India’s bilateral relations with Japan. MMTC has been supplying iron ore to Japanese Steel Mills (JSMs) since 1963 and to South Korea since 1973.
The current LTAs with JSMs and South Korea’s POSCO for supply of iron ore for period of three years had expired on 31 March, 2018. The Union Cabinet, in its meeting held in June 2015 had authorized MMTC to engage in LTAs with JSMs and POSCO, South Korea for supply of iron ore for a period of three years from 2015 to 2018.
According to Steel Users Federation of India (SUFI), India has overtaken Japan to become world’s second largest producer of crude steel in February 2018. China is the largest producer of crude steel in the world, accounting for more than 50% of the production. Earlier in 2015, India had overtaken US to become third largest producer of crude steel.
India’s crude steel production stood at 93.11 million tonnes (MT) for period April 2017 to February 2018 and was up 4.4% as compared with April 2016-February 2017 period. This helped to overtake Japan and become second largest producer of crude steel in the world.
The growth in steel production was attributed to policies undertaken by government followed host of steps taken to curb imports, push local demand with initiatives like Make in India and implement GST and infrastructure projects, to encourage the domestic market.