Delhi – India is to impose steep tariffs of at least 23 percent on injection moulding machines from Taiwan, Vietnam and other Asian countries, arguing that its machinery producers were being hurt by imports dumped at unfair prices.
But the decision has been hotly contested within India, with a trade association for injection moulders arguing the move would raise costs for those companies, reduce jobs and hold back the development of India’s industry broadly, even if it helped machinery producers.
The announcement from India’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry earlier this month came after the ministry late last year renewed similar anti-dumping tariffs on moulding machines from China for another five years.
The two decisions together essentially erect high walls around India for standard injection moulding machines from most of the other Asian producers of such mid-priced equipment.
The initial 2009 tariffs against China priced those moulding machines out of the Indian market, allowing Taiwan and other places to increase their exports.
Specifically, this latest decision puts anti-dumping duties in place for five years on imports from Taiwan (27.98%), Vietnam (23.15%), Malaysia (44.74%) and the Philippines (30.85%).
It covers moulding machines with clamping forces between 40 and 3,200 tonnes, but exempts all-electric moulding machines, blow moulding machines, vertical injection equipment and some specialised injection machines for making footwear.
The Indian government said India’s domestic machinery industry suffered “significant and material” harm from the dumped imports and that they “significantly undercut the prices of the domestic industry”.
The government report said India’s injection machinery market dropped from 3,800 machines a year in the 2010-2011 fiscal year (which ended 31 March, 2011) to 2,700 machines in 2013-2014.
Domestic production dropped in that time, from just over 2,000 machines a year to about 1,660, and imports from the four countries fell from 881 to 611.
“The dumped imports from the subject countries and other countries account for about 24 percent of the demand in India in a declining market and have thereby worsened the condition of the domestic industry through their volume as well as price effects,” the government said.
However a trade association of Indian moulding companies argued that the real culprit was not dumped imports, but the dramatically slowing economy.
The Mumbai-based All India Plastic Manufacturers Association (Aipma) said India’s machinery manufacturers made their problems worse by expanding capacity between 2010 and 2014, from 3,600 machines a year to 4,800 machines, and were now suffering from those ill-timed investments.
In comments summarised by the Indian government, Aipma said duties would hurt India’s moulding industry by raising the cost of key capital equipment and “threaten a more significant number of jobs in the downstream [moulding] industry than the number of jobs allegedly at risk in the domestic [machinery] industry”.
The Plastics Machinery Manufacturers Association of India, which first asked for the duties against the four countries in 2014, disputed that.
It said the latest duties would “have insignificant impact on the downstream industry” because, it said, there was no adverse effect from the 2009 duties against Chinese machines.
The New Delhi-based PMMAI acknowledged that the slowing economy hurt machinery makers but said imports had made the problem worse.
“While it is appreciated that the decline in demand has been partly responsible for the decline in production and sales, the presence of subject imports due to dumping by foreign producers has aggravated injury to the domestic industry,” it said.
PMMAI maintained that after the 2009 tariffs on China, some Chinese manufacturers started shifting production elsewhere. China’s largest machine maker, Haitian International, opened a Vietnam factory, although Haitian officials said that was also to serve the Southeast Asian markets.
Two Taiwanese companies won carve outs from the tariffs. Asian Plastic Machinery, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Chen Hsong Machinery, will be hit with an antidumping penalty of 6.06% and Jon Wai Machinery will have no anti-dumping penalty.
India’s government said those two companies submitted complete financial information to prove their cases.
Taiwan’s machinery association called the ruling unfair and said Taiwanese companies would lose market share as a result.
The Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (Tami) said India was one of the top five export markets for its injection moulding machines and estimated the ruling will cost Taiwanese companies $18m (£12.6m) to $24m (£16.8m) in lost sales annually.
“In order to keep Taiwanese competition in India, Taiwanese makers have no choice but [to] plan to build factories in India,” said Alan Wang, president of Tami’s Plastics and Rubber Machinery Committee, in a statement.
“Perhaps [that is the] main purpose of this final decision of Anti-Dumping Duty against Taiwan.”
Tami also noted that this latest ruling was stricter than the one against China, which only applied to injection machines up to 1,000 tonnes clamping force.