By Hansa Sinha
While reading the chapter of anti-dumping in law school, we would often read WTO case laws. These would have Panel reports. These Panel reports were then reviewed by the Appellate Body, WTO which would thereafter reject or accept the Panel reports. However, this referred to Dispute settlement right at WTO at Geneva and not in the jurisdiction of the various member countries. So the next question comes that how is anti dumping regulated at the national levels. Where does one file cases in India? What is the forum? Who is the judge? Where are those judgments?
For addressing issues at national level the WTO has National Antidumping Authorities. In India this is under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry by the name of DGAD or Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties. With its one and only office at New Delhi, it is DGAD under Department of Commerce that takes care of all the anti dumping and anti-subsidies & countervailing measures in India. Any industry can file an application herein through their legal representatives or otherwise. The Government employs herein qualified investigation and costing officers who complete the investigation of each and every case. We could save the entire procedure at DGAD for another day and another post! So anyway the DGAD is headed by a Designated Authority. The Designated Authority is one officer male or female. It is the DA under whose signature the final decision or rather in technical terms the Final Findings are issued. In these final findings they recommend duties or no duties on a particular product as per their investigations and record their understanding on all other related factors of the investigation. Here ends the first very important stage. However, this is not the end as the duties at this stage have only been ‘recommended’ and not levied.
After the Final Findings (recommendation of DGAD), it is the Ministry of Finance which reviews the entire duty recommended and finally, through a Custom Notification levies the recommended duties. It goes without saying that the Ministry of Finance has discretion as to the quantum of duties to be levied etc.
All the Final Findings are readily available in public view at the Ministry of Commerce website. However, there is no Appellate Body in the Ministry of Commerce. If any interested party is not satisfied with the Final Findings issued by DGAD, they may appeal to CESTAT i.e. Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal.
The DGAD does not entertain the Safeguard cases in India. For those, we have a separate forum with sole office at Delhi by the name of DG Safeguards i.e. Director General Safeguards. DG Safeguards is a body under the Ministry of Finance. They have a body called Standing Board of Safeguards which is chaired by Commerce Secretary. The Recommendations made by the DG (Director General) and the views of the Standing Board are placed before the Finance Minister or Commerce Minister depending on whether the Safeguard duties are to be applied or the quantities are to be restricted. The concluded investigations are all available on the website of DG Safeguards. There is one catch here which is that there is no appellate remedy unlike DGAD available under the Safeguard Duty Rules against the findings of the DG Safeguards.
Thank you for reading!