Reliance Industries had filed an application before the directorate in accordance with a FTA between India and South Korea for initiation of bilateral safeguard investigations.
The commerce ministry has recommended an increase in import duty on a Korean synthetic rubber, used in tyre making, for two years in order to guard domestic industry from significant jump in inbound shipments of the product, according to a notification. The ministry’s investigative arm Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has recommended the increase in customs duty after concluding in its probe that increased imports of ‘Polybutadiene Rubber’ have caused “serious injury” to the domestic industry.
Reliance Industries Ltd had filed the application before the directorate in accordance with a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and South Korea for initiation of bilateral safeguard investigations concerning increased imports of this rubber. The probe was started in November last year. The government on July 1, 2020, imposed safeguard measures by eliminating the concessions given under the FTA and increased the rate of custom duty to 10 per cent on the imports of the product imported from Korea for 200 days.
The DGTR notification stated that there exists a causal link between the increased imports of the goods due to the reduction or elimination of custom duty under the Korea-lndia FTA, officially dubbed as comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) and serious injury to the domestic industry. “Accordingly, the director general recommends increasing the rate of customs duty on imports of subject goods (Polybutadiene Rubber) originating in Korea to the level of Most Favoured Nation applied rate of customs duty…The measure is recommended’ it said.
For the first year, the DGTR has recommended to “increase the rate of customs duty to the level of 100 per cent of Most Favoured Nation applied rate of customs duty” and 75 per cent in the second year, it added. The probe was carried out under India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
The product is used in manufacturing of tyres and an additive to improve the mechanical strength of plastics. The finance ministry will take the final call to impose the duty. The duty helps in providing a level-paying field to the domestic industry in terms of pricing of the product in the domestic market.