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US traders seek import tariff on Indian tile suppliers, blame subsidies

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A coalition of US ceramic tile suppliers has urged the federal government to impose tariffs on ceramic tile imports from India as it is impacting domestic industry due to subsidised imports by the Indian government.


The Department of Commerce has instituted an investigation into this matter.


Import of ceramics and tiles from India has increased significantly over the past few years, an association of the US ceramic and tiles industry has claimed alleging that these are impacting their domestic industry as the imports are subsidised by the Indian government.


In a petition filed before the US International Trade Commission of the Department of Commerce, the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile (TCNA), which claims to represent more than 90 per cent of US tile production, seeks the imposition of tariffs estimated between 408 per cent to 828 per cent, alleging that there is ongoing massive and widespread dumping from India.


American tile manufacturers have always welcomed fair competition from imports. In fact, US manufacturers have plentiful deposits of clay and feldspar, an efficient and well-respected labour force, local community support, state-of-the-art equipment, and affordable energy so much so that major exporters from Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, and China have built facilities in the Us from which to compete on a global scale, stated Tile Council of North America executive director, Eric Astrachan.


However, Indian tile producers enjoy substantial government subsidies, which in conjunction with selling excess capacity at dumped prices, has allowed them to flood the US market. Over the last 10 years, sales of tile from India have increased from a mere 344,000 square feet in 2013 to nearly 405 million square feet by the end of 2023, he alleged.


Our domestic manufacturers had no alternative but to petition the federal government for relief from these unjust trading practices. The vitality of the US industry and the livelihoods of thousands of employees and their families within our member companies depend on it, Astrachan said.


US International Trade Commission last week issued a federal notification giving notice of the institution of investigations and commencement of preliminary phase antidumping and countervailing duty investigation to determine whether there is a reasonable indication that the imports of ceramic tile from India impact US industry.


June 10 is the last date for responses.


According to Barnes & Thornburg, trade counsel for the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile, if the US finds that Indian imports are unfairly traded and have injured or threatened to injure US tile manufacturers, the Government will impose tariffs on Indian tile imports.


The Government would first impose preliminary tariffs in a few months and would impose final tariffs at the conclusion of its investigation in approximately 16 months, with the calculation of such final tariffs applied retroactively to the date of preliminary tariffs, and possibly to the date of initiation, he said.


In its filing, the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile (FTCT) claimed that India is engaged in unjust trading practices by allowing low-priced ceramic tile imports into the United States, which undercut domestic manufacturers.


The scope of the investigation includes various types of ceramic tile, such as flooring tile, wall tile, paving tile, hearth tile, porcelain tile, mosaic tile, and more.


These ceramic tiles are articles containing a mixture of minerals, including clay, that are fired to produce a finished product less than 3.2 cm in actual thickness. The investigation covers both glazed and unglazed tiles, regardless of end use, surface area, weight, or other factors.


The members of the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile include American Wonder Porcelain, Crossville, Inc., Dal-Tile Corporation, Del Conca USA, Inc., Florida Tile, Inc., Florim USA, Landmark Ceramics, and StonePeak Ceramics. The US Department of Commerce has initiated investigations in response to the petition filed by the Coalition for Fair Trade in Ceramic Tile.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Apr 30 2024 | 7:03 AM IST

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