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New Delhi, Jan. 21

AFTER fighting for seven years with the Brazilian anti-dumping authority, the Jute Manufacturers Development Council (JMDC) has finally wrested victory. Brazil has lifted the anti-dumping duty on products of five mills, while lowering the levy for other exporters.

According to a statement by the Textile Ministry here, the Brazilian Government has lifted the anti-dumping duty on import of jute bags into Brazil for five Indian jute companies Birla, Cheviot, Howrah, Ganges and Gloster and lowered the duty for others from 38.9 per cent to 27.8 per cent or $0.22 per kg. Indian jute goods exporters were subjected to this anti-dumping duty for the past 12 years.

Recalling the case, it said Brazilian authorities imposed anti-dumping duty on import of jute bags from India and Bangladesh on September 30, 1992 for a period of five years. The anti-dumping levy was 24.8 per cent on bags made of jute yarn and 56 per cent on jute bags. Following this, Indian jute bag exports to Brazil came down almost to negligible level.

Despite forwarding documents to establish that Indian jute goods were not exported to Brazil below its domestic normal value, the Brazilian authorities re-imposed the dumping levy in September 1996 at the rate of 38.9 per cent for all jute bags from India for another five years.

Later, on examination, it was disclosed that the Brazilian authorities had relied upon two forged invoices from a non-existent Indian company DADJ Bag Manufacturing Co, which were designed to indicate a high value for domestic trading only to prove dumping. The matter was brought to the notice of Brazil, which initiated a criminal investigation in 1999, the result of which never came to light.

Meanwhile, two high-powered delegations visit to Brazil led by Secretary (Textiles) in 1999 and another by the then Textile Minister in 2000 did not yield any result. JMDC's two review petitions were also spurned in 1999 and 2000.

Finally, when the second sunset review was set off by Brazil in 2003 for re-imposition/continuation of the duty for a further span of five years, JMDC contested it fiercely by drawing up legal services both in India and Brazil. It was eventually proved beyond doubt that the export prices of Indian jute companies were higher than their domestic prices and as such there was no need for the Indian companies to resort to dumping for exporting their goods into Brazil. The Brazilian authorities had no option but to withdraw the imposition against these five companies and reduce the overall dumping duty for other exporters of jute products from India, the statement said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 22, 2005)
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