New Delhi: India has stepped up the heat on imports from China for injuring domestic producers by allegedly dumping products like digital offset printing plates, solar cells and a raw material used in making industrial chemicals.
The revenue department has notified continuation of safeguard duty on solar cells and panels for another year, and imposed definitive anti-dumping duty on import of digital offset printing plates and provisional anti-dumping duty on aniline oil used in making certain industrial chemicals. The decisions were announced in three separate orders late on Wednesday night.
The extension of safeguard duty on solar cells and panels came as the existing safeguard duty on the item expired on 29 July. The revenue department order said that safeguard duty is to be paid on these items at the rate of 14.9% for the first six months and at 14.5% for the remaining six months. Exporters will be offered relief from the safeguard duty to the extent of any anti-dumping duty paid on the items. The duty applies to imports from Thailand and Vietnam too but excludes imports from any other developing country.
The move is the latest in an economic offensive against China with which India had a border clash last month in which about 20 Indian soldiers died. So far, New Delhi has banned dozens of Chinese smartphone apps, ordered e-commerce firms to disclose to shoppers origin of the products offered on their platforms and banned companies from China and Pakistan from bidding for government contracts without specific approval from competent authorities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has advocated self-reliance as a growth strategy, which will also help wean Indian producers from over dependence on raw materials from China, especially in sectors like automobiles, pharmaceuticals and electronics.
In the case of digital offset printing plates, the anti-dumping duty is also applicable to imports from select companies from Japan, Republic of Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam at specified rates. The duty on aniline oil is up to $150.8 per tonne and applies to any Chinese import routed through other countries too.
According to executives from user industries, realigning their supply chains to tap alternative sources of raw materials will take time and involves a cost. Many countries are now exploring a China plus one strategy for sourcing raw materials. Policymakers try to balance the interests of domestic manufacturers who compete with cheap imports and that of the businesses that use these for raw materials and intermediates to keep their finished products cost competent.