Bangladesh wants India to remove anti-dumping duties on jute products

Bangladesh wants India to remove the anti-dumping duties on certain jute product imports. India extended these duties for a five-year period in January this year but New Delhi is not keen to do so, sources have said..

The neighbouring country is also trying to stop India from attempting to impose countervailing or anti-subsidy duties on the items on the grounds that it would bring exports to India to a complete halt and further hurt farmers, sources added.

“The Bangladesh government wants India to roll back the anti-dumping duties on jute products that were extended in January this year for another five years. It also wants India not to plan countervailing duties, as it claims that additional penal duties would force many more jute mills to shut down,” a person tracking the matter told businessline.

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India, however, does not have any plans of revoking the anti-dumping duties. “The Bangladesh government has explained that jute in the country is grown on a particular kind of land not suitable for anything else. If Bangladeshi farmers fail to export jute and jute products to India due to the anti-dumping and other duties, they would suffer economically. But India also has to worry about its own farmers, who are not well-off,” the source said.

The anti-dumping duties imposed by India on Bangladeshi jute products are compliant with WTO rules and any future action that India may take would also be within the ambit of multilateral trade rules, the source added.

The WTO allows anti-dumping duties to be imposed on imports if it can be conclusively proved that the goods are priced lower than the price of the product in the exporting country market. CVD can be imposed by the importing country on an item if the exporting country provides subsidies to its manufacturers for producing it. There are no CVDs on jute from Bangladesh.

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Under the provisions of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement, Bangladesh enjoys duty-free access for most products, including jute, into India. The support given by the Bangladeshi government to its jute industry was leading to cheap jute products flooding the Indian market which the Indian industry and farmers were finding difficult to compete with.

India first imposed anti-dumping duties on jute products, including jute yarn or twine, hessian fabric, jute sacking bags, and jute sacking cloth from Bangladesh and Nepal in 2017 for a five-year period ending on December 31, 2022. The anti-dumping duties ranged from $6.03 to $351.72 per tonne.

Following a petition from the Indian Jute Manufacturers’ Association, which wanted the levies to continue, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) carried out a probe. In its review, it concluded that there is continued dumping of these products from Nepal and Bangladesh and the imports are likely to enter the Indian market at dumped prices in the event of cessation of existing duty. The anti-dumping duties were thus extended for another five years.

Bangladesh is also apprehensive that India may impose additional CVD levies on jutes which could bring exports to India to a complete halt.

Since India imposed anti-dumping duty (ADD) in January 2017 on jute products, the subsidies given by the Bangladesh government to its industry increased, according to industry sources.

“The talks with Bangladesh on jute exports to India are on. The two nations want to settle their concerns amicably,” the source said.

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