By Malini Hariharan
It was supposed to be a mere formality.
More than a month back India's commerce ministry formally recommended final anti-dumping duties on polypropylene (PP) imports from Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Oman. For duties to be implemented the commerce ministry's recommendation has to be approved by the finance ministry.
But this approval has yet to come.
This particular case has been controversial from the start. Saudi producers have been irked by the commerce ministry's ruling that the Saudi formula for pricing propane, feedstock for PP, gave them an 'unfair advantage' over other international producers.
As reported by the blog earlier, Saudi producers risked more dumping and other duties from countries around the world if India's ruling sets a legal precedent.
Saudi producers, through the Gulf Petrochemical and Chemical Association (GPCA) have asked the Indian government to throw out the case before it damaged economic relations and warned that the case would be taken to the World Trade Organzation (WTO) if India imposed ADD. They have also used the Saudi government to press the right buttons in New Delhi.
Pic source: Legaljuice.com
Sources close to affected Saudi producers believed that the delay was an indication that their efforts to pressure the Indian government were working.
A local media report in late September quoted the Saudi ambassador to India: "I am confident that this anti-dumping issue will be solved once and for all in near future."
The ambassador also stated that India's finance minister was looking into the issue.
But sources close to Indian PP producers believed the delay was routine. "There is no precedent of the finance ministry rejecting an anti-dumping recommendation made by the commerce ministry," said one source.
But this case has set precedents from the start. Maybe there is room for one more.