An Indian court has dismissed appeals against an anti-dumping duty imposed on Bangladesh's jute goods, dampening the spirits of domestic millers and exporters.
The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal of India on October 9 gave the order, rejecting the appeals filed by five local millers and the Jute Products Importers Association of India against anti-dumping duty for jute goods shipments from Bangladesh.
The anti-dumping duty ranges between $19 and $352 per tonne.
“This is bad news for us,” said Moniruzzaman Monir, managing director of Pride Jute Mills, one of the five millers to have appealed against the anti-dumping duty early this year.
The other mills are: Anwar Jute Spinning Mills, Sagar Jute Spinning Mills, Sidlaw Textile Bangladesh and Sharif Jute Mills.
“We have been exporting jute products to India for a long time. We will not be able to do business now due to the anti-dumping duty,” Monir added.
The Indian revenue authority had slapped the duty on January 5 based on a report of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) of India.
The DGAD launched an investigation based on complaints from the Indian Jute Mills Association that Bangladeshi exporters were selling jute products at prices lower than those of India's domestic market.
As part of the investigation, a DGAD team visited some factories in Bangladesh and collected data, including export prices of shipped products to India and sales prices in the domestic market.
In its final report in October last year, DGAD came to a conclusion that goods were being dumped and the imports were “undercutting and suppressing the prices of the domestic industry”.
It said Indian jute producers were failing to compete with the imports, as Bangladeshi jute growers got 10 percent cash incentive.
Later, the five mills appealed to CESTAT for the review. The Bangladesh government also raised the issue with the India authority on several occasions and requested reviewing the decision.
In one instance, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made the request to the Indian premier, Narendra Modi, during her visit to New Delhi in April this year.
Monir, director of the Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association, said jute and jute goods were one of the major items Bangladesh exported to India.
The Bangladeshi shipments helped to reduce the trade imbalance with India to some extent but the dismissal will further tilt it towards India's favour, he said.
“Now we have little to do at our level. It may help if initiatives are taken from the highest authority of the government.”
Jute is the third largest export earning sector of Bangladesh, after garments and leather, and India is one of the biggest markets for these goods.
India accounted for 17 percent or 1.41 lakh tonnes out of 8.25 lakh tonnes of jute goods exported in 2015-16, according to data compiled by the Department of Jute.
The overall export to India was worth $689 million and the share of jute and jute goods was 37 percent in 2015-16, according to data from the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry.