India confirms soda ash import duty

The Indian government is reportedly expected to confirm the special duty on Chinese imports of soda ash, set up on a provisional basis earlier in 2009, keeping the cost of this key raw material high f…

The Indian government is reportedly expected to confirm the special duty on Chinese imports of soda ash, set up on a provisional basis earlier in 2009, keeping the cost of this key raw material high for detergent manufacturers and glass companies. A safeguard duty-a special levy to protect domestic industry against import surges-of 20% was imposed on soda ash imported from China, which is used as an input in a number of industries including detergents, float glass, soap, leather and textile, from April to 5 November 2009. However, the directorate general of safeguards has now recommended imposition of safeguard duty for a period of one year, which means that the duties will be in place till April 2010. According to a government official, there is sufficient evidence to show that there has been a sharp increase in soda ash from China in the recent months, which is affecting profitability of domestic manufacturers. Once it is approved by the standing board, which includes officials from commerce and finance ministries, the proposal will be implemented. The investigations carried out followed complaints from Tata Chemicals, Gujarat Heavy Chemicals, Saurashtra Chemicals, Birla Sagar, DCW and Nirma, who produce more than 90% of domestic soda ash.