Ouch! That hurts

I have been hearing that the Indian government will soon announce preliminary antidumping duty (ADD) on polypropylene (PP) imports from Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Oman. A few lucky producers/exporters have escaped but there are many who face a stiff duty of as much as a few hundred dollars, say my friends from the industry.

Polymer processors and producers from the affected countries had strongly protested against the investigation, which was launched in early March. But it looks like the government has been sympathetic to the producers’ case.

The ADD on PP, when announced, will be added to a long list of chemicals that has attracted protection in the form of ADD or safeguard duty in the last few months. I have been told that while the government is unwilling to listen to requests for upward revision of import duty, it willing to act fast if producers can produce evidence that cheap imports have hurt their business. And that’s keeping many producers busy these days. So don’t be surprised if you hear investigations being launched on many more chemicals.

It appears cheap imports are hurting Indian industry across all sectors. A recent survey by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) shows that small and medium sized companies are most worried about Chinese imports which are 10-70% cheaper.

“Trade and industry have reported that with western markets losing their appetite for imports, Chinese manufacturers are increasingly looking at alternative markets to offload their wares. India is an obvious first choice in such a scenario given its geographical proximity and the fact that it is still growing at an appreciable 6.5-7.0%,” says FICCI.

Indian companies have expressed concerns on quality and safety of Chinese imports. “Immediate imposition of severe testing requirements on imports from China is a must as these include basic items of consumption and even vaccines,” adds FICCI.

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