Commission initiates sunset review of anti-dumping duty on PS plates

The government of India’s anti-dumping commission has initiated a sunset review of the anti-dumping duties applied to the imports of pre-sensitised (PS) plates from China, upon request of TechNova Imaging Systems. The anti-dumping duties on import of PS plates from China were imposed in 2007 for a five-year period, which ended in September, 2012.

21 Aug 2013 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

The anti-dumping investigations are carried out by directorate of anti-dumping and allied duties under the department of commerce, government of India.

The commission held an oral hearing on 12 August, 2013 as part of the sunset review, which may result in maintenance of the duty, with elevation or reduction of the applied duty rates, or may result in the suspension of the anti-dumping duty.

The oral hearing was attended by both the parties, TechNova Imaging Systems representing domestic industry on one side, while the other side was formed by Creed Engineers, Andhra Pradesh Printers Association (APPA), All India Federation of Master Printers, Indian Languages Newspapers' Association (ILNA), Noida Offset Printers Association (NOPA) among others.

TechNova’s contention
According to TechNova, the imports from China continue to enter India at dumped prices even though duties have been levied. “The domestic industry has continued to suffer injury over the injury period and period of investigation. Even though there is a marginal improvement in certain parameters, the domestic industry remains extremely fragile,” submitted TechNova.

“There is a strong likelihood of dumping and consequent injury if duties are removed and the domestic industry shall be left completely vulnerable to the dumped imports. This is because the domestic industry is forced to sell at a low price to compete with the Chinese imports,” it added.

Besides TechNova, Karad-based Orion Photosensitive Systems is a manufacturer of PS plates in India. Orion, which was established in 1988, has developed its own technology to manufacture the plates.

Anti-dumping: tax on knowledge, claims INLA
Claiming that the anti-dumping duty on printing plates is a tax on knowledge, Paresh Nath, president, ILNA, said in the written submission that the purpose of anti-dumping duty cannot be restricted to protecting the local industry (which is a monopoly manufacturer) but should also consider that it is a tax on knowledge.

The submission read, “The Supreme Court has been of the opinion that any action of the government that restricts revenues or increases cost of newspaper publishing, will restrict the right to circulate information and opinion, and thereby impinge upon the freedom of speech and expression. The state as a policy, therefore, does not impose any tax on printed material whether newspapers, magazines, books, textbooks etc. Many inputs are also tax-free. There is no tax on newsprint used by newspapers and magazines.”

Decreasing demand of PS plates, says APPA, NOPA, Creed
According to APPA, the claim of TechNova that they are forced to operate at sub-optimal levels is due to decline in demand, as has also been admitted by the industry. “The same is not because of dumping,” said D Umapathi Reddy, president, APPA  and CVS Juneja, chairman NOPA.

Reddy added, “The demand for the product in the country has steeply declined. Further, the market share of TechNova has increased in the last four years. It is a clear situation where Technova has not lost sales due to increase in imports. In fact, TechNova has lost sales less than the decline in demand, which shows that the imports have lost more sales than decline in demand.”

In the post-hearing written submissions, Creed Engineers and Lucky Huaguang Graphics Company (the importer), stated, “There is no injury to the domestic industry. Injury, if any, is due to excess capacity created by the domestic industry. The capacity of domestic industry is 51% more than the demand of product in India, which has seen a significant decline of 22%. It further read, “There is no case of extension of duty, even if the duties are extended; it should be done in terms of Indian Rupees.”  

The commission has given all the concerned parties time till 22 August, 2013 to submit their counters to the arguments presented on 12 August, 2013.