Companies

Float glass makers seek duty on Pak, Saudi Arabia imports

R. Balaji N. Ramakrishnan Chennai | Updated on November 05, 2013 Published on November 05, 2013

Low export price, cheap funds cut industry deep

The domestic float glass industry, which is battling a slowdown in demand, has sought anti-dumping duty on glass imports from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Directorate-General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties in the Commerce Ministry is investigating complaints of dumping filed by the domestic glass sector, represented by Gold Plus Glass Industry Ltd, HNG Float Glass Ltd and Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd.

According to industry representatives, a number of float glass lines came up in West Asia during the boom period, thanks to cheap funds and the extraordinarily low cost of gas. These companies are now selling glass in India, shipped mainly through Mumbai, at prices lower than their cost of production.

The price of gas for these float glass makers is just about $0.75 a million British thermal unit (mBtu), whereas it is about $16.5 for Indian manufacturers. For every dollar difference in gas pricing, the impact on the price of glass is $7-8 a tonne.

Glass manufacturers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE enjoy not only cheaper gas, but their interest costs – called administrative charges – are as low as 2 per cent. Another element of cost as far as glass is concerned is the cutting, packing and transporting charges. This adds nearly 40 per cent to the cost of naked glass, according to industry officials.

The Indian float glass industry estimates that the CIF (cost, insurance and freight) cost should be $260-270 a tonne, whereas glass from West Asia is available for $120-130 in Mumbai. The Indian industry has, therefore, taken up the issue on two counts – the low price at which it is exported and the cheap cost of funds (anti-dumping and anti-subsidy), for both of which it is hopeful of getting relief from the designated authority.

The Commerce Ministry is convinced that manufacturers from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are selling their products below their cost of production in India.

A float glass plant in Pakistan has a capacity of 550 tonnes a day, while the capacity of those in Saudi Arabia and the UAE is about 650-700 tonnes a day.

According to the representatives, India faces another problem as far as Pakistan is concerned, in the matter of float glass. Pakistan can export float glass to India without duty, while Indian companies do not enjoy the same benefit when they want to sell it in Pakistan.

Pakistan has a float glass plant close to the Wagah border and glass is transported to India by road. The Pakistani company has appointed an all-India sales manager. It is targeting the National Capital Region, according to the representatives.

Despite the much cheaper price of gas, the glass plants in question in West Asia are making losses. The Indian industry is waiting for relief from the Commerce Ministry so that imports from West Asia and Pakistan are curbed.

>balaji.ar@thehindu.co.in

>ramakrishnan.n@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 05, 2013
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