The Indian authorities have launched an anti-dumping investigation into an allegation against clear float glass (CFG) exporters of Bangladesh.
They initiated the probe amid allegations raised by the Indian CFG manufacturers that the exporters were dumping the product in the Indian market in terms of prices, officials at the ministry of commerce (MoC) of Bangladesh said.
As part of the probe, a hearing is scheduled to be held virtually today (Monday) in presence of senior officials and stakeholders concerned from both sides, Md Hafizur Rahman, additional commerce secretary and director general of WTO Cell, told the FE.
It would be the first verbal hearing of stakeholders taking place between Bangladesh and India on an anti-dumping issue through digital video conference (DVC), officials said.
At the hearing, they added that the Bangladesh side will put forth necessary submissions and rejoinders to defend the local exporters.
Earlier, Dhaka had formally informed New Delhi that the Bangladeshi CFG was being exported to the Indian market not at dumped prices, and requested them not to impose any anti-dumping duty (ADD), said a senior official at the MoC.
"We've submitted our arguments to the Indian authorities concerned, saying that the CFG production in India is not being affected due to export of the product from Bangladesh," said an industry insider.
He added that Bangladeshi CFG is being exported to the neighbouring country not at dumped prices.
Earlier, a good number of Indian producers had requested the DGTR under the commerce ministry of India, and the industry ministry of India to launch an investigation into the allegation of dumping.
The DGTR on June 17 last informed the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi that local industries accused three Bangladeshi exporters of dumping CFG in the Indian market.
The companies are: PHP Float Glass Industries, Nasir Float Glass Industries Limited and Usmania Glass Sheet Factory Limited.
To this effect, the MoC of Bangladesh had a meeting with the stakeholders concerned. The stakeholders presented their arguments in this regard, a high official of the commerce ministry said.
"We have noted necessary information and arguments from the exporters," he added.
Fresh imposition of ADD on CFG by India will cause a serious blow to Bangladesh's overall export to India, he said, adding that the CFG has huge potential in the Indian market.
India had earlier imposed ADD on Bangladeshi jute goods, hydrogen peroxide and fishing nets.
Shipments of glass products from Bangladesh to India have been rising in recent years.
Bangladesh exported glass sheets worth over US$ 0.7 million to India in fiscal year (FY) 2019-20. The exports grew fast since then and stood at $ 3.39 million in the first 11 months of FY 2020-21, according to official records.
An ADD is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.
The duty is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field between the domestic producers and foreign exporters/producers.
Earlier, India slapped anti-dumping duty on Bangladesh's jute yarn, hessian and bags back in January 2017 ranging from $19 and $352 a tonnes.
A similar duty was imposed on the exports of hydrogen peroxide to India in the range between US$27.81 and $91.47 per tonnes in April 2017. One year later, India put ADD at US$2.69 per kilogram on the shipment of fishing nets from Bangladesh.
According to a commerce ministry official, this will be a clear violation of the SAFTA rules if India initiates investigation into the allegation of dumping without consulting Bangladesh.
As per existing SAFTA rules, he said, before considering anti-dumping measures against least developed contracting states, they have to be given the scope for consultation in this regard.
"The contracting states shall give special regard to the situation of the least developed contracting states when considering the application of anti-dumping and/or countervailing measures," according to Article 11(A) of the rules.
"In this regard, the contracting states shall provide an opportunity to least developed contracting states for consultations. The contracting states shall, to the extent practical, favourably consider accepting price undertakings offered by exporters from least developed contracting states."
In March, 2021, five memoranda of understanding were signed between Bangladesh and India in Dhaka to enhance cooperation, an official told the FE.
One of them was inked for the establishment of a framework of cooperation in the area of trade remedial measures between the two countries.
It has been mentioned not to make any move about measures/investigation on ADD without consultation with the respective country, the official added.
On June 30 last, the Indian authorities initiated the anti-dumping investigation under the Customs Tariff (Identification, Assessment and Collection of Anti-dumping duty (ADD) on dumped articles and for determination of injury) Rules 1995 (AD Rules), according to a source.
As per Rule 6(6) of AD rules "Anti-designated authority may allow an interested party or its representative to present the information relevant to the investigation orally but such oral information shall be taken into consideration by the designated authority only when it is subsequently reproduced in writing, according, according a letter of director general of trade remedies (DGTR) under commerce and industry ministry, India"