Alkali industry has asked for an increase in customs duties on imports of caustic soda and soda ash from the existing level of 7.5% to 12.5% for both products.
Cheaper imports of caustic soda and soda ash from West Asia, South-East Asia and China are taking over the market for these products while domestic manufacturers are facing low capacity utilisation.
Increasing import duties to safeguard domestic investments in these crucial products and provide a level-playing field is the need of the hour, said Alkali Manufacturers’ Association of India (AMAI) in its pre-budget memorandum.
In case of caustic soda, imports meet around 15% of the domestic demand while for soda ash, imports accounted for over 20% of the domestic demand in financial year 2018-19 despite adequate domestic capacity and quality of products being on par with the best internationally.
Alkali industry has asked for an increase in customs duties on imports of caustic soda and soda ash from the existing level of 7.5% to 12.5% for both products so as to provide a level-playing field to domestic manufacturers in meeting the challenge of cheaper imports, the association said on Monday.
The demand for caustic soda has been growing at 5% CAGR during the last four years and for soda ash at over 7%. Domestic industry has invested handsomely in setting up new capacities and technologies. However, cheaper imports are meeting the demand growth, leading to lower domestic utilisation and job losses.