ARTICLE
14 December 2022

New Trade Notice Ends The Impasse: Revised Methodology Devised For Procurement Of DGCI&S Import Data

TC
TPM Consultants

Contributor

TPM was founded in 1999 as the first firm dealing exclusively in the field of trade remedies. TPM has assisted domestic producers, in India and overseas, suffering due to cheap and unfair imports to avail the necessary protection under the umbrella of the WTO Agreements. TPM also assists exporters and importers facing trade remedial investigations in India or other countries. TPM has assisted exporters facing investigations in a number of jurisdictions such as China, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, European Union, GCC, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine and USA. TPM also provides services in the field of trade policy, non-tariff barriers, competition law, trade compliance, indirect taxation, trade monitoring and analysis. It also represents industries before the Government in matters involving customs policy.
The Directorate General of Trade Remedies ("DGTR"), on 18th October 2022, issued a new Trade Notice prescribing the procedure for procurement of Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence...
India International Law
To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (“DGTR”), on 18th October 2022, issued a new Trade Notice prescribing the procedure for procurement of Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (“DGCI&S”) transaction-wise import data and ending a short-lived uncertainty over the same. This article traces the history of publication of import data in India and their access to the public. Access of import data has played a critical role in trade remedial investigations in India. The recent Trade Notice restores the state of normalcy that existed in Indian trade remedial practice.    

Use of DGCI&S import data in trade remedial investigations

Trade remedial laws of India require that an application seeking initiation of an investigation contain sufficient evidence of, among other things, dumping/ subsidisation and injury to the domestic industry. In order to examine the alleged dumping / subsidization and injury suffered, the investigating authority would require information with regard to the volume and value of imports. Since imports of the product under consideration are required to be segregated on the basis of the product description, applicants rely on transaction-wise import data. Dissemination of such data is subject to significant regulations.

Prior to 2016, DGTR used to refer to data from government as well as private sources for their analysis. For instance, in the anti-dumping investigation concerning imports of Non-Brass Metal Flashlight from China PR, the DGTR relied on transaction-wise import data published by Asis Infotech Pvt Ltd, Mumbai for determining the price and volume of imports. Further, in the sunset review investigation on imports of 2 Methyl(5) Nitro Imidazole from China PR, the DGTR even considered the transaction-wise import data published by the International Business Information Services (IBIS) over government data. However, in the last few years, the DGTR has relied on the transaction-wise import data as published by the DGCI&S for their trade remedial investigations. The DGTR issued Trade Notice No. 7/2018 dated 15th March 2018 laying down the procedure for procurement of transaction-wise import data from DGCI&S. As per the Trade Notice, request for transaction-wise import data for specified period was to be made in writing, for use in petitions requesting initiation of trade remedial investigations. Based on such application, the DGTR would allow the applicants to collect transaction-wise import data from DGCI&S.

History of publication of import data

The publication of official import and export data by the Customs in India commenced only in 2004 with the notification of the Publication of Daily Lists of Imports and Exports Rules, vide Notification No. 128/2004-Customs (N.T.) dated 19th November 2004 by the Central Government. Under the said Rules, the Central Government allowed the Customs authorities to publish import/ export data for statistical purposes. The data that, thus, became accessible to the public included the product description, country of origin, and quantity and value of goods imported. However, citing public interest, the Central Government put an end to this practice in 2016 vide Notification No. 140/2016-Customs (N.T.), dated 25th November 2016.  

Enactment of Section 135AA

In February 2022, the Customs Act was amended to insert Section 135AA through which publication of trade data relating to quantity, value and classification of goods was made a punishable offence. Thus, unless such publication is made as required by the law or by specific authorisation of an exporter or importer, it is punishable with imprisonment for a maximum term of six months, or with fine up to fifty thousand rupees, or with both. The punishment was enhanced to a fine of one lakh rupees for the first offence and to be increased by hundred percent for each subsequent offence vide Notification No. 69/2022-Customs (NT), dated 22nd August 2022 notifying the Customs (Compounding of Offences) Amendment Rules, 2022.

New Trade Notice for procuring DGCI&S Import Data

As a result of this recent developments, the DGCI&S discontinued to provide import data as per the Central Government's Trade Notice of 2016. Since publication of import data was punishable under Section 135AA, no information could be collected from private sources. In the absence of such import data, entities intending to file applications seeking initiation of trade remedial investigations before the DGTR were left handicapped. Though the DGTR could call for data from DGCI&S for their analysis, the same was not made available to interested parties to defend their interests. It is in this background that the DGTR has issued Trade Notice No. 1/2022, dated 18th October 2022 replacing the previous Trade Notice. As per the new Trade Notice, procedure similar to the previous Trade Notice has been prescribed for the procurement of DGCI&S import data. The procurement of DGCI&S import data as per the new Trade Notice is subject to the following conditions:

  1. Information obtained can be used only for the purpose of trade remedial investigation. If the party decides not to file an application, the DGTR has to be informed of the decision within a period of 90 days.
  2. The party undertakes that the data would not be placed in public domain / shared with any other party.
  3. The party undertakes that it shall be subject to the provisions of Section 135AA of the Customs Act.

Conclusion

The Trade Notice of 2022 is a welcome measure by the Central Government for the Indian manufacturing sector. The DGCI&S import data has, over the years played a crucial role in allowing the Indian manufacturing sector injured by dumped/ subsidised imports to prevent their legitimate case before the DGTR seeking appropriate remedy. The recent Trade Notice democratises the access to trade remedial relief in India.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

See More Popular Content From

Mondaq uses cookies on this website. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

Learn More