Govt. Issues Safeguard Investigation Notice on ‘Import of Phenol’

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India’s phenol manufacturing companies, Hindustan Organic Chemicals Ltd and Deepak Phenolics Ltd have filed an application for assessment of Safeguard Customs Tariff alleging increased imports of “Phenol” causing serious injury to the domestic industry. With an 87% of the total production of Phenol in India, the major companies have sought safeguard measures to protect the domestic industry from the import injury.

After examining the application, the Director-General has found the claims realistic, and has thereby initiated a safeguard investigation pursuant to rule 5 of the Safeguard rules, 1997. The views are sought by all interested parties within a period of 30 days from the date of the notice i.e 23rd August 2019. The concerned department is, Director General, Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), Jeevan Tara Building, 4th Floor, 5, Parliament Street, New Delhi -110001.

The period considered for investigation is from 2016- 17 to June 2019. According to the applicants, there is a sudden, sharp and significant increase in imports of PUC in India during Q1 2019-20. According to them, this increase has happened mainly due to the imposition of anti-dumping duty by China coupled with oversupply of Phenol globally and US China trade war. This increase has caused serious damage to the domestic industry. M/s Deepak Phenolics, which started its production in November, 2018, has claimed that its sales and profits declined during Q1 of 2019-20. They believe this has mainly happened due to the price pressures caused by increased imports. The increased imports have also led to a significant increase in inventories of subject goods produced by the domestic industry.

The information must be submitted in hard copies as well as soft copies with clearly marked as “confidential” or “non-confidential” at the top of each page. Any submission made without such marking shall be treated as nonconfidential by the Director General and the Director General shall be at liberty to allow the other interested parties to inspect such submissions.

** It is to be noted that Phenol prices are very crucial for the cost price of laminate, plywood, MDF and many other related product in India, hence any safeguard duty initiation is certainly a matter of attention for wood panel and laminate industries for future course.

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