The Directorate General of Safeguards has been shifted to the commerce ministry as part of government’s plan to create a single authority for imposing trade remedies to protect the domestic industry. DGS was, so far, working under the finance ministry.
The amendment of Allocation of Business Rules has mandated Department of Commerce with work pertaining to recommendation of safeguard measures, according to the commerce ministry statement.
Trade remedies, which include anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard duties, are allowed under global trade norms to guard domestic industries from significant imports or cheap inbound shipments.
“The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) will bring DGAD (directorate general of anti-dumping and allied duties), DGS and Safeguards (quantitative restriction) functions of DGFT (directorate general of foreign trade) into its fold by merging them into one single national entity,” the ministry said today.
It said this has paved way for creation of an integrated single umbrella national authority to be called the DGTR for providing comprehensive and swift trade defence mechanism in India. Presently, the trade defence mechanism in India lacks optimality and takes more than a year to complete proceedings in cases pertaining to unfair trade practices.
It will also provide trade defence support to our domestic industry and exporters in dealing with increasing instances of trade remedy investigations instituted against them by other countries.Commerce Ministry Statement
In the last three years, India initiated more than 130 anti-dumping/countervailing duty/safeguard cases to deal with the rising incidences of unfair trade practices and to provide a level playing field to the domestic industry.
The DGTR will function as an attached office of Department of Commerce.
The recommendation of DGTR for imposition of anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard duties will be considered by the Department of Revenue. It also said that the proposal of creation of DGTR was pending since 1997.
Under the Goods and Services Tax regime, DGS has also been entrusted to investigate complaints of profiteering. The investigating agency submits its reports to the National Anti-profiteering Authority, which then takes its own view and decides on the penalty.
India is one of the largest users of these trade remedies.
Countries initiate anti-dumping probes to determine if the domestic industry has been hurt by a surge in below-cost imports. As a counter-measure, they impose duties under the multilateral WTO regime.