India's export of finished steel fell by 33 per cent to 4.30 lakh tonne (LT) in May this year, according to official data.
The country had exported 6.42 LT finished steel in May last year, the Joint Plant Committee (JPC) said in a report.
JPC, under the Ministry of Steel, is the only institution that collects and maintains data on the Indian steel and iron sector.
"Exports stood at 0.43 MT (million tonne) in May 2018, down by 33 per cent over May 2017 and was down by 23 per cent over April 2018," the JPC report said.
In contrast, the imports grew by 11 per cent to 6.20 LT in May, from 5.58 LT in the year-ago-period, it said.
The production of finished steel last month stood at 10.547 MT, up 6.7 per cent, as against 9.886 MT in May 2017.
The report further said that India's consumption of total finished steel last month rose by 8.6 per cent to 8.330 MT from 7.668 MT during the same month in 2017.
Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh had earlier said that India should cut down its dependence on special steel product imports through value addition and form JVs (joint ventures) with global leaders for technological know-how.
"PSUs ... when they have advantages like captive mines... why don't they utilise it...why not to put up washeries...why not to go for value addition..special grades of steel," Singh has earlier said stressing upon the need to curb imports.
Despite being the world's second-largest producer of steel, India is still dependent on imports for some products and there is a need to develop technologies to produce electrical grade and auto grade steel to become self-sufficient, Singh has said.
"Instead of producing just semi-finished and basic steel products, we must produce high value-added products, which also get better prices," he has said.
The Indian steel sector is "full of opportunities" and the country must aim to grab the numero uno position in quality steel production, the minister said.