INDIA – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry will review existing anti-dumping duties on Chinese injection molding machinery imports later this year.
In 2009, India imposed tariffs of up to 174% on China-made injection molding machines for a five-year period, which is now nearly up.
Whatever decision the ministry takes though, machinery suppliers in India believe there will be little change to current buying trends in the domestic market.
Chinese presses imports slip into India via Malaysia
While sales of China-made presses have suffered somewhat, many Chinese suppliers have been importing their machines via Malaysia, explained Milind Agnihotry, general sales manager for Zhafir Plastics Machinery Ltd, a subsidiary of Chinese press maker Haitian International Holdings: "Interestingly, the government is losing even [its] 7.5% import duty as Chinese machinery continue to pour in via Malaysia, with whom India has signed [a free-trade agreement]."
Zhafir imported about 300 machines to India in 2011. In the current fiscal year - which ends in March - it has already sold around 270 machines.
Optimistic about his company’s future in India, assuming the Indian government responds positively on the anti-dumping duties, Agnihotry said, "We have some plans, but until barriers are removed, the best could not be brought here. We don't know when the conditions would become conducive again for [an] India foray."
Taiwanese and Malaysian suppliers step up to fill demand gap
Taking advantage of the anti-dumping duties in Chinese imports, Taiwanese and Malaysian companies have also been stepping up marketing efforts in India these past years even as they struggle with a weak rupee that has made lower-cost imported machines more expensive.
Grace Lee, India and Africa country manager for Taiwan-based Huarong Plastic Machinery Co Ltd, said her company sold about US$4 million worth of injection presses to Indian in 2012: "Last year was not such a bad year for us. Despite volatile currency fluctuations in India, we were down by 10% over the previous year.
"Compared to that, [our] China business was down by almost 35%," she said, explained that sales in China suffered from the slowdown in growth for plastics manufacturers that export outside the Mainland.
"[The] China market is huge, but heavily depends on export orders. If the companies continue to get export orders, they keep sourcing machine from us," Lee said.
Meanwhile, Malaysian companies have been reaping the benefits of its country’s free trade agreement with India.
For example, Malaysia’s ESM Precise Manufacturing Sdn Bhd sells about 100 injection molding lines on average a year to India.
Han Changhua of ESM said, "We are pricewise competitive thanks to [the free-trade agreement], as our machinery is not levied with a 7.5% import duty."