ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Under-valued Imports and Public Interest

The implications of applying domestic competition laws to cases of alleged under-valued or dumped imports in the context of some recent decisions by the MRTP Commission.

In this article, we examine what constitutes public interest and to what extent it should guide action against low valued imports, as well as the international implications of applying domestic competition laws to imported goods, in the context of some of the decisions by the MRTPC. A companion article (EPW, January 13, 2001) dealt with what constitutes ordinary course of trade in the context of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court.

In a comprehensive article on ‘predation, protection and public interest’, A Bhattacharjea1 has extensively dealt with public interest in the context of Indian competition law and policy. He has cited three cases of low valued imports which have been dealt by the MRTPC under the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act. These cases relate to import of soda ash from the US, import of soda ash from China and import of float glass from Indonesia. Normally, the domestic producers affected by cheaper imports complain to the customs authorities against under-valued imports and to the antidumping authorities against dumped imports. In these three cases, the Indian industry appears to have approached the MRTPC seeking action against cheap imports and have had a measure of quick success, which other producers similarly affected by cheap imports may emulate. The basis of intervention by the MRTPC in these cases seems to be on the ground of public interest.

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