ICEA seeks 25% anti-dumping duty on optical fibre, especially on cheap imports from China

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September 13, 2020 9:40 PM

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has recommended 10 per cent anti-dumping duty on cheap imports from China, based on appeal from domestic manufacturers. 

ICEA said India has a free trade agreement with Indonesia, and Chinese companies may be taking the route of ASEAN country to circumvent duties. (Reuters)

Mobile and electronics industry body ICEA on Sunday asked the government to increase anti-dumping duty on optical fibre to 25 per cent, especially on cheap imports coming from China. In a letter to Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan, the India Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) said China has levied anti-dumping duty on Indian optical fibre to the tune of 30 per cent. The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has recommended 10 per cent anti-dumping duty on cheap imports from China, based on appeal from domestic manufacturers.

While India aspires to be the world’s most competitive and significant global hub for electronics products manufacturing including fibre, it cannot let domestic industry get run over by predatory dumping, ICEA Chairman Pankaj Mohindroo told PTI. “DGTR decisions should be swift and also get implemented swiftly. While we welcome the 10 per cent recommendation by DGTR on fibre, we would like it to be implemented immediately and also a review be done for the 25 per cent rate to be implemented and Indonesia to be included,” Mohindroo said.

In the letter, ICEA said India has a free trade agreement with Indonesia, and Chinese companies may be taking the route of ASEAN country to circumvent duties. “It may be noted that five Indonesian companies are interested parties in the DGTR investigation and many of these could be Chinese companies resident in Indonesia. “We urge the Committee of Secretaries to not blindly apply the 3 per cent waiver rule for developing countries, to view the issue in totality considering the possibility of circumvention,” ICEA said in the letter.

DGTR, while considering provisions under Customs Tariff Act 1975, recommended in August that safeguard duty will not apply on imports from countries whose share in the segment is less than 3 per cent. This includes imports from Indonesia also. According to the data shared by optical fibre makers, import in the segment increased 271 per cent to 9,918 route fibre kilometer (rfkm) in 2018-19 as compared to 1,902 rfkm in 2016-17.

The Director General for Safeguard had proposed anti-dumping duty of 25 per cent on optical fibre, but DGTR later reduced it to 10 per cent. “The fact remains that there is grave injustice to the industry who were able to get 25 per cent safeguard protection in November 2019 recently. Based on the same data, the protection level has been reduced to only 10 per cent in the final findings,” ICEA letter said.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on August 15 in which he announced that every village will be connected by optical fibre in the next three years, the industry body said optical fibre industry should remain only in India and not depend on China. ICEA alleged that China is seeking to destroy the Indian industry by putting stiff anti-dumping duty, ranging from 7.4 per cent to 30.6 per cent, on Indian exports. It had imposed anti-dumping duty on Sterlite five years ago and on four other Indian companies in 2014.

China recently extended this duty by another five years, while taking similar action on optical fibre producers from Japan, the US and Australia. “Thus, China is on a mission to kill the optical fibre industry all over the world. We in India must stop this from a strategic plan issued apart from a safeguard measure,” the letter said.

ICEA said Chinese companies seeking protection from India in their own countries are dumping in India. “We request that the Committee of Secretaries chaired by the Commerce Secretary with Member Department of Revenue as well as the concerned ministries impose the recommended duty of 10 per cent so far immediately, and also ask the DGTR to revise the duty of 25 per cent suggested in the preliminary findings and also include Indonesia in the action,” ICEA said.

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