With little flexibility under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and bilateral trade agreements to raise tariffs, India is increasingly resorting to other tools — anti-dumping duties, safeguard levies and minimum import prices (MIPs) — to provide the requisite protection to domestic industries from inexpensive imports and meet contingencies like a sudden influx in imports. Data reviewed by FE show that incidence of anti-dumping actions more than doubled in the four years to 2016 — as many as 75 products came under anti-dumping levies in 2016 against 37 in 2013.
Trade experts say this is not a development to be decried as these measures are legitimate and mostly WTO-compliant. While India’s MIPs on steel products have recently come under attack from countries like Japan for being protectionist and against WTO rules, New Delhi is seeking to address Tokyo’s concerns by citing the fact that the number of items under MIPs has already been cut down to just 19 from 176 earlier. However, anti-dumping duties are much easier to defend multilaterally.