India extends soda ash anti-dumping duty to 2018

By Yoke Wong
Published: Friday, 08 September 2017

Following months of review, India will extend anti-dumping duties on soda ash imports until July 2018.

The Indian government has extended the country’s anti-dumping duties on soda ash imports from a number of countries until 2 July 2018.

Since 2012, India has imposed varying level of anti-dumping duties on soda ash imports from China, the US, Kenya, Ukraine, the EU, Iran and Pakistan.

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Tata Chemicals 

China and the US are two of the biggest global exporters. Imports from China incur a duty of $36.26/tonne, while material from the US is subjected to a duty of $38.79/tonne.

In 2015 the India Glass Manufacturers’ Federation (AIGMF) applied to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to scrap the import duties, claiming that the circumstances have changed and the duties are no longer warranted.    

The government published its mid-term review in September 2016 and had recommended scrapping the anti-dumping duties, but the final findings were challenged by petitioners.

Following months of review, the High Court of Gujarat made a final decision to extend the tariff for another one year, according to a government release at the end of June.  

Shortly after the ruling, on 22 July,  a petitioner  challenged the verdict arguing that "the one-year extension of antidumping duty after the expiry of existing antidumping duty would be illegal." As a result, the case is back for review at the Indian High Court and could subject to changes.    

Indeed, although the June ruling will support local production, many buyers are disappointed. Buyers in India were expressing hope that the duties could be scrapped but the ruling meant that they will have to continue to pay a higher price for the material.

The final verdict was not surprising for many producers as one told IM: "It’s not a new concept, there have been anti-dumping duties for the past five years."

As EU imports incur the lowest level of duty at $9.17/tonne, this ruling will also continue to support European producers’ sales into India. However, due to strong demand exceeding supply in recent months, many buyers told IM that it has been difficult sourcing soda ash.

According to IM’s price assessment on 3 August, synthetic dense and light soda ash prices held unchanged week-on-week at $240-250/tonne on a CIF India basis.

India has a soda ash production capacity of 3.1m tpa but the country still relies on imports to meet domestic demand. 

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Soda ash

Soda ash, or sodium carbonate, can be produced either by mining natural sources or manufactured synthetically using salt and limestone.

About half of the soda ash produced in the world is used in the glass industry for the production of flat glass, container glass, fibreglass and other products.

High exposure to glass markets means that soda ash demand is significantly influenced by the fortunes of the construction and automotive industries.

China is the world’s largest producer of soda ash. While most of China’s output is consumed in domestic markets, producers there have become increasingly established in export markets. In 2016, China exported 2m tonnes soda ash, according to China Customs data. 

Production from China was lower in 2016 as, due to a wastewater dam collapse, major producer Shandong Haihua Co. shut down its 3m tpa synthetic soda ash production facility - temporarily boosting US sales of soda ash in Asia.

The world’s second largest producer, the US, is the largest global exporter. The US produced 11.7m tonnes in 2016 and holds estimated reserves of 23bn tonnes, according to the USGS.

Three groups dominate production and have become the world’s leading suppliers of soda ash—American National Soda Ash Corp., which represented three of the five US domestic producers in 2016; multiple producers in China; and Solvay S.A. of Belgium.