Cement exporters unlikely to concede South African markets

09 September 2014

Pakistan cement makers, facing anti-dumping probes, are unlikely to lose South African market as their offered prices are still attractive for the African importers, industry officials said this week.

The International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) is investigating claims by cement producers that cement from Pakistan is being dumped in the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), of which Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland are also members.

At least four African cement manufacturers – Afrisam, Lafarge, NPC Cimpor and PPC – claim that bagged cement from Pakistan has been dumped at a 48% lower price than is the normal value in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Lucky Cement and DG Khan Cement are the leading exporters to SACU.

Amin Ganny, Lucky Cement CEO, dismissed the perception that the cement sector would face huge losses if the ongoing probe on anti-dumping proves them at fault.

“These allegations are only going to strengthen our resolve to stay ahead of the industry in terms of innovation and strategy,” he added.

Industry officials said the quality of Pakistani cement is superior, so other manufacturers found it difficult to compete with Pakistani cement in their markets. They try and impose non-tariff barriers to block exports from Pakistan.

“We have seen similar tactics in African markets before where we were blamed for shipments of low-quality cement, but we managed that issue. We are facing similar issues in the Indian markets and have requested our governments to solve it, to make Pakistani cement accessible to Indian consumers,” Ganny said.

SACU is a lucrative market for the Pakistani cement manufacturers, as they exported around 1.6 million tons during the last fiscal year. Pakistan’s total cement exports were 8.3 million tons in FY14.

Industry officials said South Africa is a cement-deficit country, which cannot afford to ban cement imports from Pakistan. Shipments from Pakistan are economically viable for them, as the manufacturers here are quoting much cheaper price of the commodity than competitors in India and the Middle East.

An industry source said the gap between export price and the price within Pakistan was not as huge as African manufacturers were quoting. “The existing price gap is reasonable,” he said.

Industry officials said high local taxes is the reason behind low export prices offered by the manufacturers.

Cement manufacturers expect probes by South African authorities on anti-dumping charges may end with some new duties on cement import in Africa.

“This non-tariff barrier might be taken by the African regulatory body to protect its local manufacturers,” he added.
By Salman Siddiqui
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