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Indian Silk Suit Worries Chinese Exporters(2007-6-7)

Jun 7, 2007

Chinese silk exporters are up against a new challenge as India's Central Silk Board asked a tribunal in New Delhi to review the ruling on an anti-dumping case over Chinese imports.

Zhang Yi, a lawyer with Richard Wang & Co. in Beijing, said he received on Tuesday a copy of the petition the Indian board filed to the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi.

The organization, run by the government of Karnataka, the southern Indian state, sued the Indian Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in May for improper handling of the anti-dumping case against Chinese silk imports.

The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles (CCCT) and some 20 Chinese silk exporters also featured in the petition.

The new lawsuit, which is expected to be heard in July, poses a fresh challenge for Chinese exporters, after they were asked to follow a reference price in the earlier ruling in November.

"Although the two Indian ministries are the primary defendants, we are also stakeholders in it, so we must actively react to the suit," said Zhang, who represented Chinese exporters in last year's anti-dumping case.

CCCT issued a statement to it's members yesterday, telling them to prepare for the legal battle and come to a conference in Chongqing next Tuesday to chalk out a response to the suit. The conference was to originally discuss how to cope with rising export prices as a result of the anti-dumping ruling.

India launched an anti-dumping investigation in 2005. In November, India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced a final ruling that Chinese imports should follow a reference price range of $1.662 to $4.526 per square meter, depending on quality.

The range was 30 percent lower than the preliminary ruling, so the Central Silk Board decided to sue the parties, in a bid to overturn the previous ruling. The petition claimed the ruling was not reasonable and the ruling process was improperly handled.

The reference price has already dealt a heavy blow to Chinese silk exports. In the first quarter, China exported $1.78 billion of silk products, a drop of 5 percent year-on-year . Exports to Indian fell by 12 percent, to $72.39 million.

The Textile Information Weekly said the appreciation of RMB , the reference price, and the low demand in India due to inflation have all resulted in lower exports [ChinaDaily News].

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