Anti-dumping enquiry on offset printing plates initiated


TechNova, the leading (and some would say monopoly) producer of aluminum offset printing plates in India, has again initiated the imposition of anti-dumping duty on imported offset plates. The directorate general of trade remedies (DGTR) of the Ministry of Commerce will probe the alleged dumping of ‘digital offset printing plates’ from five countries – China, Japan, Taiwan, Taiwan and Vietnam. The allegation is that plates from these countries are being exported to India at ex-factory prices that are below the normal value of these plates and thus causing harm to Indian manufacturers (namely TechNova Imaging Systems).

In its notification, the DGTR says it has ‘sufficient evidence of dumping’ and that the investigation is to determine ‘the existence, degree and effect of alleged dumping and to recommend the amount of anti-dumping duty, which if levied, would be adequate to remove injury to the domestic industry.’

Readers will remember that it was on 1 June 2018 that the anti-dumping duties on the import of digital offset plates from China, instituted in 2012 for five years, were rescinded. These were to have expired in 2017, but were extended for one year and a sunset review was initiated. The findings were that continuation of the anti-dumping duties were no longer warranted.

In the past year TechNova has itself been importing offset plates from China for sale in India. Perhaps this was a way of gathering information that will help it in its current application to have anti-dumping duties imposed again. Offset plate importers and traders say that if a plate manufacturer is itself importing plates to satisfy the Indian market, how can it claim that it fulfils Indian printers’ needs as far as quality, quantity and in terms of price performance. Indian printers are in fact impressed by the quality, competitiveness and ready availability of imported offset plates.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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