After finding that Chinese products are entering the Indian market through third countries such as Singapore and Cambodia to circumvent Indian laws, New Delhi has imposed anti-dumping duty on measuring tapes and their components originating from China and any other country, according to government officials.

The finance ministry not only re-imposed anti-dumping duty on Chinese measuring tapes made up of steel and fibreglass on July 8, but also extended the same to imports from other countries so that Chinese products cannot be re-routed through a third country, the officials said requesting anonymity.

As the influx of measuring tapes and their components from China were hurting the domestic industry, the government had imposed anti-dumping duties on them from July 9, 2015, which would have expired on July 8, unless extended.

After an elaborate investigation launched in December last year, it was found that while imports of these items from China had declined after the imposition of duties since July 2015, there was a significant jump in their dumping from other countries such as Singapore and Cambodia even though they do not manufacture these products, the officials said.

The finance ministry, therefore, imposed anti-dumping duty of $1.83 per kilogramme on steel measuring tapes and their components, and $2.56 per kilogramme on fibreglass tapes and their components originating from China or any other country for five years from July 8, 2020, one of the officials said.

The decision was taken after a thorough investigation by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) on this matter, a second official said. The DGTR is a single-window agency providing a level-playing field to domestic industry against unfair trade practices of countries like China.

“Evidence show there are no producers in Cambodia and Singapore, and Chinese producers are apparently exporting through these countries,” the official said quoting DGTR’s investigation report. HT reviewed the report.

“The examination of the evidence is indicative of the fact that significant imports have been reported from Cambodia and Singapore, which are allegedly Chinese origin products,” the report said. Dumping is an unfair trade practice that entails the export of a product at a price lower than its value and is countered by a punitive duty, which is an acceptable measure under multilateral trade agreements.

Mekhla Anand, partner at law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, said numerous such cases were noticed by the government that saw amendment of the Customs Tariff Rules, 1995 last year to widen the scope of anti-circumvention measures. “Antidumping duty measures have to be coupled with measures to prevent circumvention of the rules so as to ensure that the domestic industry is not unfairly targeted by non-domestic players,” she said.

DK Aggarwal, president at the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that China has been resorting to unfair trade practices. “As a result, unfair competition from low cost imported (Chinese) products has impacted the sentiments of domestic manufacturers, resulting in significant effect on production processes and employment creation,” he said.

“Anti-dumping duties significantly help in supporting the domestic industry, however, it is not very much helpful in case of China due to its extreme unfair trade practices,” he said, adding that the government should strictly impose quality assurance norms to check the import of counterfeit products.

On May 11, HT reported that India could extend anti-dumping duties and safeguards on more than two dozen Chinese goods ranging from calculators and USB drives to steel, solar cells and vitamin E amid concern that a flood of imports would kill domestic manufacturers who will lose duty protection soon against such products. Anti-dumping duties on these products were imposed five years ago and are expiring this year.


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