Domestic metallurgical coke manufacturers are seeking an increase in the anti-dumping duty on the coke imported from China to Rs 3,600 a tonne from the current provisional duty of Rs 1,800 a tonne.
The Indian Coke Manufacturers' Association has argued that the government had imposed the provisional duty of Rs 1,800 a tonne when Chinese manufacturers were selling coke at $85-90 a tonne. They have now cut the price to $70-75 a tonne, warranting an increase in the anti-dumping duty.
The domestic manufacturers have been petitioning the commerce ministry that the provisional duty is inadequate. They have also suggested variable duty to tackle any further fall in the prices.
According to Umesh Chand, president of the association, and R K Jalan, advisor, over 20-25 plants in the Dhanbad region of Bihar have shut down under the onslaught of the "unfair" competition.
According to them, the right quantum of anti-dumping duty should be equal to the dumping margin, which, according to the preliminary findings of the commerce ministry, stands at Rs 3,600 a tonne following the recent cut in prices by Chinese manufacturers.
The association points out that the import of metallurgical coke from China has gone up by about 2,000 times in recent years. The coke imported from China is cheaper than both the varieties of coke produced in India _ one from Indian coal and the other from Australian coal _ and its price is lower than the normal value in China.
"The anti-dumping duty should be levied with retrospective effect to send a strong signal to the Chinese. China has a habit of dumping, which is borne out by the fact that 18 of the 36 cases being investigated by the anti-dumping cell of the commerce ministry relate to China," says Jalan.
He points out that when it comes to dumping in the US, China is number one after Japan, adding that dumping of coke by China is an "economic warfare" to kill the Indian industry.
Meanwhile the Pig Iron Manufacturers Association has been demanding the roll-back of the provisional anti-dumping duty on the ground that they are making huge losses due to it.
However, according to the domestic coke manufacturers, the pig iron manufacturers had been making losses even prior to the imposition of the duty. They say PIMA is trying to hide its inefficiency and poor choice of technology by blaming the anti-dumping duty on coke for the losses suffered by them.
"We must remember that the coke manufacturing industry is vital to the country's economy and there is no substitute for it. If the domestic industry becomes sick, we cannot depend on any other country for our requirements," says Jalan.
The Indian coke manufacturers have been supplying metallurgical coke to over 500 consuming industries in the country for the last 80 years. It is an important fuel used in blast furnaces in the production of steel, pig iron, iron & steel foundries and various chemical industries.