Any investigation or enquiry is daunting and the word itself can send chills down the spine. This holds particularly true if the person/entity is facing or may be affected by such investigation or enquiry.
So when anti-dumping (AS) or anti-subsidy (AS) investigations are launched, the new players (exporters, importers, users) can especially be susceptible to such fear.
But fear not!
Unlike other investigations or enquiries, AD/AS are nothing to be worried about (assuming you conduct business in a legit manner!!) and are rather in the best interest of all interested parties to come forward and supply as much information as possible.
This post relates to post-initiation of investigation and may not be of much interest to domestic producers, who want trade remedy measures to be imposed.
But many times, interested parties are just not interested in participating in the investigation, either thinking it will not help or it may go against them or hoping someone else will come forward to help them.
Well, surprise, surprise!
In today's cut-throat competition, to expect another entity (which may very well be your competitor) to come forward and help you is out of the question. Et tu Brutus moments are far too frequent nowadays! You want something, you go get it!
Likewise, to think that participating in the investigation may not help is as good as losing out on an opportunity and ruing later and blaming the government for imposing higher duty!
So, without further ado, let's look at some great reasons, why you should come forward and participate and then we will see what steps you should take:
Exporters: Get a better rate of duty - Perhaps the biggest advantage in AD/AS investigations. The domestic industry will obviously claim the highest possible dumping/subsidization and if Authority does not get actual information from exporters facing investigation or gets incomplete information, duties imposed can be prettttty high and uncompetitive. Usually, duties are imposed for a period of 5 years, further extendable upon review. Take for example NBR AD case by India - cooperating exporter got a duty of USD 47.43/MT, while non-cooperating entities got USD 327.12/MT.
So, as you can see, if you participate and get a lower rate of duty, you get 'better' access to the market. Now, you don't want to lose out on a market just because you chose not to participate, do you?
Importer/User: Oppose the investigation and put forward user industry perspective - So when domestic industry seeks duty levy, they will obviously not talk about the effect on user industry or how it may affect importers and unless a user or importer comes forward to shed light on market reality, the Authority will go by domestic industry's claim.
Now if you feel levy will kill your business or make you uncompetitive, then you must object to the claims of domestic industry and make yourself heard at the right forum - before the Authority, and not at a public domain like LinkedIn - which is good for airing personal opinion but hardly has any effect!
Any interested party: Apart from the above, all interested parties have the following rights:
Right to participate
Seeking exclusion of a product type, which may not be produced by domestic producers
Access to complaints filed by domestic industry and submissions by other parties
Make yourself heard at hearing
Appeal the finding if you are unhappy with Authority's determination
Now coming to approaching an ongoing trade remedy investigation, this is what one should do -
Getting to know of initiation - When it comes to India, all initiation notices are published on Authority's website - https://www.dgtr.gov.in/whats-new. An easier way would be to subscribe to this website and get a daily dose of trade remedy news. Initiation notice gives basic information about the case like the product covered, target countries, the complainant domestic industry, reasons for claiming dumping/subsidization, injury and deadline for filing information.
Register: Now that you know there is an investigation but need to know more, then register yourself as an 'interested party'. Authority in India has gone online - so all that you have to do is to write an email to Authority, stating your interest in taking part (as an exporter, importer, user, etc) and voila, you become an interested party. Being an interested party helps since -
you can get complaints filed by the domestic industry and understand in detail the scope of product and nature of allegations, and
if you do decide to participate and have less time to meet the deadline, you can always ask for a brief extension of the deadline, which is mostly granted!
Meet deadline: Once you decide to participate, you must meet the prescribed deadlines for filing questionnaires and submissions. The complexity of the questionnaire depends on your status - producer, exporter, importer or user. While parties can take matters into their own hands, but if you are a first-time participant or do not want to dedicate staff full time for this project, then it is recommended to hire a professional. Remember, belated submissions may be rejected and all your time and efforts (and legal cost, if you hire a legal consultant) may go waste!
Attend hearing: Hearings have gone virtual. So you (along with your legal consultant, if any) can join from anywhere and take part in the hearing and put forward your points. The hearing also helps in understanding the points put forward by other parties, including domestic industries.
Allow verification: Usually reserved for foreign producers and exporters (but sometimes for users/importers), Authority verifies the data submitted by parties, which helps in verifying its accuracy. It is in the best interest to assist Authority during such verifications.
Respond to Authority as and when required: Finally, the Authority may require certain clarifications or you may yourself want to submit some additional points. The same must be done within a reasonable manner to give Authority sufficient time to examine it.
Following the above steps helps the Authority to arrive at more accurate findings on facts, which would remain curtailed if interested parties do not come forward.
So, next time an investigation comes, do take into account the above steps and protect your interests.