A worker at PPC Cement in Cleveland, Johannesburg. File picture: Supplied

Johannesburg - The International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) has made a final determination on the anti-dumping duties on Portland cement originating or imported from Pakistan, imposing duties ranging between 14.29 percent and 77.15 percent.

This final determination seems likely to result in Pakistan cement producer Lucky Cement proceeding with a high court application to set aside the imposition of the anti-dumping duties.

Lucky Cement earlier this year launched a high court application to set aside the imposition of provisional anti-dumping duties, but the case was not heard because the provisional duties, which have a shelf life of six months, had expired before its application could be heard.

Donald Mackay, a director of XA International Trade Advisers and consultants to Lucky Cement, last week said Lucky Cement would only take a decision on its high court application next week after it had studied Itac’s final report.

But Mackay said the decision by Itac to make a final determination was “bizarre” because the substantial 180-page final determination report, one of the largest he had ever seen, did not include all the comments received.

He said the total savings to South African consumers due to the Competition Commission’s intervention that resulted in the break-up of the cement cartel was estimated at between R4.5 billion and R5.8bn and Lucky Cement’s argument had consistently been that the injury caused to the Sacu (Southern African Customs Union) cement industry was because of the end of the cartel.

However, Mackay said that the Competition Commission was not even mentioned in Itac’s final determination report, adding that Itac had extended the period to determine the injury from three to four years.

He said the regulations stated that the normal period for determining injury was three years and Itac had used the discretion it was granted in the regulations to extend this period to four years.

“We’re not debating Itac discretion but if it used it, to tell us the reason. It looks like the period was extended to exaggerate the injury,” he said.

Itac’s final determination was that dumping of Portland cement originating in or imported from Pakistan was taking place, the Sacu industry was experiencing material injury and a threat of material injury and the injury suffered by the Sacu industry was causally linked to the dumping of Portland cement originating or imported from Pakistan.

It has resulted in Itac recommending to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to impose anti-dumping duties of 14.29 percent on Lucky Cement, 77.15 percent on Bestway Cement, 68.87 percent on DG Khan Cement, 63.53 percent on Attock Pakistan Cement and 62.69 percent on all other exports excluding these four companies.

The complaint against Portland Cement originating or imported from Pakistan was lodged by AfriSam South Africa, Lafarge Industries South Africa, NPC Cimpor and PPC on behalf of the Sacu industry.

The Pakistan government has approached the World Trade Organisation to revoke the provisional anti-dumping duties imposed by Itac on cement originating or imported into South Africa from Pakistan.

Business Report