Aluworks petitions Trade Commission over unfair pricing, dumping, others

Aluworks Limited has petitioned the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) over unfair trade practices by Chinese competitors.

Dumping, price undercutting, trade-in cheap products, among others, were among the complaints made by the company.
The Commission has since May 2019, been investigating a petition by Aluworks  Limited, on allegations of imports of subsidized aluminium coils and circles onto the Ghanaian markets, importation of aluminum coils and circles at prices that result in dumping and abuse of the five per cent concessionary duty rate, among others.
The Managing Director of Aluworks, Mr. Ernest Kwasi Okoh, at the hearing of the petition yesterday in Accra, asked government to impose the World Trade Organization (WTO) laws to enable the company compete favourably on the market.
Mr Okoh opined that the non-implementation of the laws has made it possible for Chinese companies operating in Ghana to charge lower prices for goods they trade resulting in an unfair advantage over Ghanaian competitors.
According to him, the unfair trade practices by foreign companies, especially the Chinese ones which enjoy subsidies and export rebates in their home countries and flood the Ghanaian market with cheap products.
Mr Okoh said it was time Ghana applies WTO rules and imposes equivalent additional duties to match the level of any export rebate granted these foreign companies.
According to him, his company has been making losses since 2009, mainly due to the unbridled import of sub-standard and cheap aluminum sheets and others.
“We have to apply the World Trade Organisation rules, and we have to impose equivalent additional duties to match the level of any export rebate granted.
“We have waited for this for 10 years; we want it now, by end of 2019 and no later. Aluworks is on the verge of extinction,” he lamented.
He explained that the work of the erstwhile Tariff Advisory Board practically proved the allegation of dumping, but it has to be re-confirmed. However, getting statistics from China has been difficult.
Mr. Okoh said the GITC should use diplomatic contacts to derive required figures, and official levels of all export rebates on aluminum.
There is also duty benchmarking, with the company arguing that the recently revised import duty benchmarking has deepened the export rebate effect.
“Now aluminium is officially landed at even below the cost of the primary metal, which should be impossible but it is in practice – giving the Chinese traders a field-day,” he added.
Economic and Commercial Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy Chai Zhijing, responding to the allegations, noted that China is open to discussion with the Commission to find solution to the concerns of Aluworks.
He added that, China is a competitive global trade partner and would not engage in unfair trade practices.
Mr Frank Agyekum, the Executive Secretary of GITC, receiving the petition assured the associations of the Commission’s commitment to do due diligence by engaging all stakeholders for discussions and ensure that players trade in line with the Commission’s Act.
He assured the associations of the Commission’s commitment to execute their mandate in a transparent, impartial, fair and firm manner to protect domestic companies from unfair trade practices.
“So now that we have started the hearing, as we have heard the banter between the respondents, the Commissioners will go back and review the material that has been presented to them and hopefully within the next few weeks, we can call another meeting possibly and then we’ll let you know the way forward,” he added.

Source: John Elliot HAGAN, Accra

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