SC seeks govt response on withdrawal of soda ash import duty

By: | Published: December 7, 2018 3:47 AM

According to HUL, the HC was wrong in curtailing the completion of mid-term review to 60 days as the DGTR is required to complete the exercise within a year which can be extended by another six months by the central government.

The recommendations could have been challenged before the Customs, Excise and Service Ta Appelate Tribunal under Section 9C of the Cutoms Tariff Act, 1975.

The Supreme Court has sought response from the Centre as to why the anti-dumping duty on import of soda ash from China, European Union, Kenya, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine and the US should not be withdrawn.

A Bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi sought response from the ministries of finance and commerce, and detergent and glass manufacturer bodies after Hindustan Unilever challenged the Gujarat High Court’s June decision that set aside the June 2017 Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties findings that recommended withdrawal of the anti-dumping duty that was imposed in July 2012 on import of soda ash from China PR, EU, Kenya, Pakistan, Iran, Ukraine and the US.
While stating that DCW and other respondents shouldn’t have approached the HC when they had an alternative remedy available, HUL said that the DG findings were simply recommendatory in nature and were accepted by the Commerce ministry. The recommendations could have been challenged before the Customs, Excise and Service Ta Appelate Tribunal under Section 9C of the Cutoms Tariff Act, 1975.

“The anti-dumping investigation undertaken by DGTR is an economic exercise which requires technical knowledge and the findings of the said investigation are a culmination of deep analysis of various technical and economic factors which requires specialisation,” HUL stated, adding that the HC was not right in deciding the issue on merits as the specialization for analysis of the technical data vest with the tribunal, which is the final fact-finding authority.

According to HUL, the HC was wrong in curtailing the completion of mid-term review to 60 days as the DGTR is required to complete the exercise within a year which can be extended by another six months by the central government.

The HC should not have quashed the annulment order and extending the statutory time limit for completion of sunset review investigation when the power to do so lied with the Central government, it said, adding that the HC exceeded its jurisdiction.
A mid-term review investigation of anti-dumping duty was initiated in July 2015 on application made by the domestic industry which alleged that . During probe, Nirma and DCW had challenged the disclosure statements. In the meantime, DGTR issued final findings recommending withdrawal of the anti-dumping duties.

The HC in its order directed the Central government to issue fresh disclosure statements and asked the DGTR to complete the entire exercise within 60 days.

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