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Home / India News / Anti-dumping measure: Tariff on Chinese optical fibre likely

Anti-dumping measure: Tariff on Chinese optical fibre likely

The government is considering imposing remedial duty on the import of “single mode optical fibre” after an investigation by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) confirmed its dumping mainly from China.

india Updated: Aug 25, 2020, 09:07 IST
Rajeev Jayaswal
Rajeev Jayaswal
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
An Indian national flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
An Indian national flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. (AP)

India has found large-scale dumping of optical fibre from China, days after Beijing extended an anti-dumping duty on the import of Indian-made fibre for five years, which could trigger a similar tariff measure by New Delhi against the Chinese product in the local market, two officials aware of development said.

The government is considering imposing remedial duty on the import of “single mode optical fibre” after an investigation by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) confirmed its dumping mainly from China, the officials said, requesting anonymity. The DGTR is a single-window agency tasked with providing a level-playing field to domestic industry against unfair trade practices by countries like China.

After a detailed investigation, DGTR on Friday concluded that import of single mode optical fibre at below cost is threatening to cause “serious injury” to Indian manufacturers and recommended imposition of a 10% safeguard duty on its import from all countries except developing nations, barring China, the officials said. The government had already raised basic customs duty (BCD) on it by 5% in July 2019.

The finance ministry is expected to take a final decision on the matter soon, they said. Single mode optical fibre is used in manufacturing optical fibre cables used in telecommunication operations such as community access televisions (CATV).

“Effectively, the measure is against Chinese firms as combined import from all other developing countries is less than 9%. China alone has a share of over 84% in its import,” one of the officials said.

The DGTR’s recommendation came close on the heels of Chinese commerce ministry’s punitive tariff on the same product imported from India for five years, effective from August 14. HT reported the measure on August 13.

According to officials, China is resorting to tariff barriers because its companies are suffering from overcapacity, and also diverting its exports to the Indian market in the face of a global boycott of the Chinese products. “Based on complaints by the domestic optic fibre industry, DGTR had initiated the investigation on Chinese dumping on September 23 last year. It had issued a primary finding on November 6 last year, but its recommendations could not be implemented at that time,” the first official said.

The second official said India was very cautious about Chinese unfair trade practices, especially after June 15. Sino-Indian tensions have shot up after a violent brawl between Chinese and Indian soldiers on June 15 along the Line of Actual Control in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in which 20 Indian army personnel and an unspecified number of Chinese were killed.

“Given the domestic economic scenario, the finance ministry is expected to accept this,” Divakar Vijayasarathy, founder and managing partner at consulting firm DVS Advisors LLP, said. The move cannot be linked to China alone as the government has been indicating its intentions of protecting domestic industry.

“In the budget, customs duty was increased for more than 10 products. Since China is a major supplier for India with a huge trade surplus, any action on imports across the board would impact China. Atmanirbhar Bharat {Self-Reliant India} itself is to restrict the influence of China on Indian markets and with relationships soaring, indirect economic sanctions will help both in hurting China and giving a boost to the fortunes of the domestic industry,” he 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 punitive actions, which are an acceptable measure under multilateral trade agreements, the officials said. Remedial actions include imposition of anti-dumping duty (against under-priced imports), safeguard measures (imposition of a duty, a quota, or both against an unexpected import surge) and countervailing duty (against export subsidies) to protect domestic units.

India has taken a tough position against unfair Chinese trade practices as it is committed to protecting domestic industry under the government’s Make in India campaign, the officials said.

India-China bilateral trade is heavily tilted in favour of China. According to trade figures released by the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) in mid-January 2020, India’s trade deficit with China was $56.77 billion in 2019; bilateral trade amounted to about $92.68 billion last year, a 1.6% annual increase.

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