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India's anti-dumping duty on jute goods

BD to take up issue with WTO as bilateral efforts prove futile

Rezaul Karim | March 08, 2018 00:00:00

Bangladesh would challenge India's imposition of anti-dumping duty (ADD) on its jute goods by taking up the issue with the dispute settlement body of World Trade Organisation (WTO), officials said.

They said Ministry of Commerce (MoC) will take necessary steps to prepare the case properly and take it up with the WTO as soon as possible. The Ministry of Textiles and Jute requested the MoC for taking the initiative.

The government took the decision after rejection of its appeal and repeated attempts for withdrawal of the anti-dumping measure by the Indian authorities, they added.

Earlier, India had imposed ADD on Bangladesh's lead acid battery, but withdrew it immediately after consultation on a case filed by Bangladesh at the WTO.

Trade expert Prof Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), stressed on taking a good preparation so that a strong case could be filed with the WTO.

"We can expect a good result if a strong case can be filed," he said, adding that Bangladesh had raised 17 points with the WTO in the lead acid battery case.

On January 05 last year, Indian finance ministry imposed ADD for a period of five years on jute products from Bangladesh at rates range between US$ 19.30 to $ 351.72 per tonne amid allegations of dumping of goods like jute yarn, twine, jute sacking bags and hessian fabric.

As a result, exports of jute goods from Bangladesh to India declined from monthly average of over Tk 113 million in fiscal year (FY) 2015-16 to Tk 60 million in FY 2016-2017, according to Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC).

Bangladesh exports more or less 30 per cent of its exportable jute goods to India, with BJMC having the largest share.

A total of 170 jute mills are running under Bangladesh Jute Mills Association (BJMA), 94 under Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA) and 23 under BJMC. Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) had earlier requested 26 organisations to provide it with necessary information about the impact of the ADD, but only five turned up with partial information, BTC officials said.

Bangladeshi exporters have limited expertise in this regard, said an official.

The anti-dumping investigation is very complex and requires quality data to be maintained by the exporters and technical experts to defend the case, according to officials at the textiles and jute ministry.

They said it would be hardly possible to settle the issue with India bilaterally. "We had applied for the withdrawal of the ADD. It has already been rejected," said one of them.

He said the issue was also discussed at a Bangladesh-India commerce secretary-level meeting, yielding no fruitful result.

"We'll have to put pressure on India. We can take legal action through the WTO," said a senior official at the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh was also trying to convince the Indian authorities through diplomatic or political channels, arguing that the ADD had already hit hard Bangladesh's export earnings from its neighbouring country, according to a BTC source.

Before imposing the ADD, office of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), India carried out an investigation during a period between April 01, 2014 and March 31, 2015 with injury analysis covering a period from 2011-12 to the period of investigation.

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