KARACHI: The South Africa has finally imposed between 14-77 per cent anti-dumping duties on Portland cement originating in or imported from Pakistan with effect from Dec 18, 2015.

The rate of duty imposed on Lucky Cement Ltd is 14.29 per cent followed by 77.15pc on Bestway Cement Limited, 68.87pc on DG Khan Cement Ltd, 63.53pc on Attock Cement Ltd and 62.69pc on all other cement exporters excluding above manufacturers.

The International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) of South Africa, which had imposed a provisional anti-dumping duty in May 2015, made a final determination to recommend the South Africa’s minister of trade and industry to impose the final duties on Portland cement classifiable under tariff subheading 2523.29 originating in or imported from Pakistan.

The commission further decided that these duties would not be rebated unless a specific recommendation in this regard was made to the minister in future.

Based on the information available and taking all comments into account, the commission made a final determination that dumping of Pakistani cement causing material injury to the South African industry and these duties would remain in place for a period of five years unless a review process takes place.

Pakistan had approached the World Trade Organisation (WTO) challenging the South African anti-dumping duties, but it did not work.

Pakistan’s cement exports were already struggling due to intense competition despite the fact that Pakistani rupee was depreciated to boost exports in the last few months, but competing countries also devalued their currencies.

The country’s overall cement exports declined by 26 per cent to 2.56 million tonnes, from 3.45m tonnes during last year.

The share of sales to South Africa was 20pc of total export.

A cement maker said the average per tonne price for Pakistani cement in July-Nov 2015-16 fell by 20 per cent to $45 per tonne from $55 per tonne in same period last year. “ Iran is giving tough time to Pakistani cement,” he added.

Some manufacturers, keeping the retail prices intact, were offering discount of Rs30-50 per bag to only big buyers in view of export slowdown. Due to this there were some visible cracks in the strong cartel.

He said cement makers were definitely enjoying good local sales owing to pick up in construction activities. The domestic sales rose by 15.6pc to 12.2m tonnes during the July-Nov period 2015-16 as against 10.56m tonnes in the same period last year. Some key players have announced expansion plans in the wake of upcoming demand for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Sources said Lucky Cement will increase its production capacity by 2.1m tonnes from the existing 7m tonnes. Attock Cement by 1m tonnes from its current capacity of 1.8m tonnes. Cherat Cement and D.G. Khan Cement will boost their capacities by 1m and 3m tonnes, from 0.8m tonnes and 4.5m tonnes respectively.

Amid a final anti-dumping duty by South Africa and slowdown in exports, the CPEC is a ray of hope for cement makers.After considering all interested parties’ comments and taking the verified exporters’ and importers’ information into account, the commission made a preliminary determination that the subject product was being dumped on the SACU market, causing material injury to the SACU industry.

On Aug 12, 2014, the ITAC on a application lodged by Afrisam (South Africa) (Proprietary) Limited, Lafarge Industries South Africa (Proprietary) Limited, NPC Cimpor (RF) (Proprietary) Limited and PPC Limited on behalf of the SACU industry, initiated the investigation into the alleged dumping of Portland cement imported from Pakistan.

As the Commission considered that the industry would continue to suffer material injury during the course of the investigation if provisional payments were not imposed, it decided to request the Commissioner for South African Revenue Service (SARS) to impose provisional measures on imports of the subject product for a period of six months.

Provisional measures were imposed on the subject product originating in or imported from Pakistan through Notice No. R.391 published in Government Gazette No. 38783 on May 15, 2015.

Published in Dawn, December 20th, 2015

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