Provisional anti-dumping duties imposed on Chinese wheelbarrow imports

06 Mar 2015

Business Day
By Nick Hedley

Provisional anti-dumping duties have been imposed on wheelbarrow imports from China, the International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (Itac) said on Friday.

The provisional duties, which take immediate effect and last 24 weeks, follow Itac’s investigation which it launched in June last year after Gauteng-based Lasher Tools submitted an application on behalf of the regional industry.

The rates of duties for the period will be 29.82% for all Chinese manufacturers bar Qingdao Youhe, which will have to pay a duty of 32.32% on its exports to the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) region.

"The commission made a preliminary determination that wheelbarrows originating or imported from the People’s Republic of China were being dumped into the Sacu market, causing material injury to the Sacu industry.

"Comments submitted by interested parties on the preliminary determination within the specific time periods will be considered by the commission prior to making its final determination and recommendation to the minister of trade and industry," Itac said in a statement.

Itac defines dumping as companies exporting their goods to foreign markets at prices lower than what they charge for the same product in their home market, or lower than their "normal" value. When dumping causes material injury to an industry in the market to which the products are exported to, it is considered unfair competition and countries are entitled to act in terms of World Trade Organisation rules.

But protection in the form of duties can lead to tit-for-tat measures being imposed by the affected exporting countries, and can sour trade relationships.

Most recently, the US has threatened to end SA’s participation in the preferential trade scheme the African Growth and Opportunity Act because of SA’s anti-dumping duties on poultry products.

Itac’s investigations into alleged dumping of cement from Pakistan meant Pakistani cement exporters were considering halting coal purchases from SA, according to Pakistani media reports late last year.

But a Morgan Stanley research note sent to clients in November last year said that should the cement industry’s plea for anti-dumping measures be successful, "a potential 2-million tonnes of demand could return to South African producers".

South African cement producers PPC and AfriSam are considering a merger, partly in an effort to build enough scale to be able to fend off competition from new entrants and from imports.