India imposed an anti-dumping duty ranging from $19 to $352 per ton on exports of jute products produced in Bangladesh in January 2017 which expired in January this year. India has not withdrawn from the anti-dumping duty even though Bangladesh has objected to it in the joint trade talks, apart from the Commerce Secretary-level meetings of the two countries for five years. Meanwhile, India’s Director General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has initiated a sunset review to continue the imposed anti-dumping duty for another five years according to the source of the Ministry of Commerce.
The Indian Jute Mills Association (IJMA) has already recommended an extension of the anti-dumping duty. The organization is claiming that the subsidy given by the Bangladesh government for the export of jute products has caused losses to Indian businessmen.
IJMA said in a press release that the Government of India is considering whether to maintain the anti-dumping duty on jute exports from Bangladesh. But at that time (in 2017) if the Indian government had not imposed anti-dumping duty on the jute exports from Bangladesh, Indian jute industry would have been destroyed by now.
Recently, the Indian prominent media ‘The Hindu’ highlighted the issue in a report titled ‘Bangladesh Subsidies Crippling Jute Industries, Sage Indian Jute Mills Association’ where it claimed, Bangladesh’s jute exports to India are increasing despite the imposition of anti-dumping duties.
However, Bangladesh requested to lift the anti-dumping duty on jute goods in the Bangladesh-India trade secretary level meeting last March. Earlier this topic was discussed in several meetings. However, there was never a positive response from India.
The Commerce Ministry has recently written to the Finance Ministry to initiate discussions with the Indian Finance Ministry regarding the withdrawal of these anti-dumping duties. In the letter, the Ministry of Commerce said that India is Bangladesh’s second largest import source and trading partner. India has been one of the most important export destinations of jute products since the independence of Bangladesh. But the imposition of anti-dumping duty on jute products exported from Bangladesh in 2017 has adversely affected exports.
According to data, Bangladesh’s jute and jute products export has been in a bad state since the Indian government imposed this tariff. Although Bangladesh’s overall exports increased by 34 percent in the last financial year, there was a negative growth in jute. In FY 2021-22, there was a negative growth of 14 percent in exports of jute fiber, rope, sacks and bags as compared to the previous fiscal year.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, the total trade between India and Bangladesh in the financial year 2020-21 was about 10 billion US dollars, of which Bangladesh’s exports to India were 1.3 billion US dollars. Bangladesh imports the rest from India. That is, the amount of trade deficit is about 9 billion dollars.
According to those concerned, India’s trade deficit with Bangladesh is worrying, especially as the deficit is increasing every year. The total value of India’s imports from the world market is about $450 billion. But Bangladesh’s export to India is only slightly more than 1 billion dollars. Under various pretexts, India has narrowed the export routes by imposing tariffs and non-tariff barriers imposed by the state governments.
Over the past five years, there have been many talks with India to withdraw anti-dumping duties but to no avail. The country’s jute sector is going through a very bad situation. Noteworthy, IJMA applied to India’s Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) for imposition of anti-dumping duty on Bangladeshi jute products in 2015. Later, a formal hearing was held between the two countries. Based on this, India imposed anti-dumping duty on jute exports of Bangladesh in 2017.