Anti-dumping duty talks fail, Morbi tile makers face GCC wall

No end in sight for Morbi ceramic cluster’s worries. In fact, the situation turned a shade darker after the November 27 meeting with officials of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regarding reduction of anti dumping duty imposed on Indian industry failed to yield desired results.

The GCC is a political and economic union of all Arab countries except Iraq and represents countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. The union represents the interest of these six countries and had imposed anti-dumping duty ranging from 42 to 106 per cent on Indian industries.

A delegation from India had gone to Riyadh to convince the GCC officials about revoking the imposition of anti dumping duty order on Indian ceramic industries. There delegation included two representatives from the Morbi ceramic association too, who accompanied officials of Union commerce ministry.

Mukesh Ughareja, president of vertified tiles division of Morbi ceramic association, who was also part of the meeting told that, “The meeting lasted for more than four hours. However, we could not secure any commitment this time. We are hopeful that they will consider our representation.”

Export to these countries have also registered a steady decline.

The ceramic association wants parity between China and India on the rates of anti-dumping duty, which at present has a difference of 15 percent. According to industry leaders this huge difference in the duty disables them from competing against China in price war.

Morbi’s total export is to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore per year. Out of this, GCC countries account for 35 to 40 percent of the total export. While the duty is expected to be levied from January, export has already shown a downward trend.

Saudi Arabia has also asked Indian exporters to secure Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization’s (SASO) quality certification.

President of wall tiles division of Morbi ceramic association, Nilesh Jetparia said, “The certificate costs anything between Rs 15 and 18 lakh. Again, industry players are reluctant to get this certificate because of the uncertainty. If the anti dumping duty is imposed in the next two months, exporters won’t be able to recover the amount they incurred for the certification.”