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China ceramic tiles industry wins the case of Malaysian ceramic tiles safeguard investigation

Source:CCCMC Published:2021-01-15 Editor:

On January 11, 2021, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) of Malaysia issued a negative preliminary determination notice in relation to the safeguard investigation with regard to the increase in imports of ceramic floor and wall tiles products into Malaysia, which means, the investigation of the case will be terminated from the date of the publication of this notice. According to the announcement, there is no "absolute growth" in the imports of the investigated products during the investigation period, nor is it certain that there is a "relative growth" in the imports during the investigation period, and there is no sufficient evidence to prove the causal link between the import growth of the investigated products and serious injury to Malaysia's domestic industry, so a negative ruling is made accordingly. The ruling means that China's ceramic tiles can continue to be exported to the Malaysian market normally. Under the situation of the global coronavirus pandemic and the spread of trade protectionism, the winning result is hard won, which greatly encourages China's ceramic tiles industry, which has been subjected to trade remedy investigation.

On September 13, 2020, MITI of Malaysia issued a notice to initiate a safeguard investigation with regard to ceramic floor and wall tiles products imported into Malaysia at the request of the Federation of Malaysia Manufacturers on behalf of the Malaysia’s domestic industry. According to the statistics of China's customs, in 2019, China exported 495,000 tons of ceramic tiles (refer to China's tax code 6907) to Malaysia, with the amount of US $171 million. The enterprises involved are mainly concentrated in Foshan City, Guangdong Province.

Since the initiation of the case, CCCMC has attached great importance to the case. Under the guidance of the Trade Remedy Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce of China, CCCMC worked with the Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province and the Bureau of Commerce of Foshan City to quickly hold a network meeting on the notification of the case and the defense of industrial injury. After the meeting, according to the willingness of enterprises to respond to the lawsuit, CCCMC organized the defense work of industrial injury, and 51 enterprises responded positively. Our lawyer has submitted two rounds of defense materials according to the procedural requirements. On December 15, 2020, MITI held an online video hearing on the case, in which more than 40 people from 22 registered interested parties on the Chinese side participated. The Trade Remedy Investigation Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce, on behalf of the Chinese government and CCCMC on behalf of the Chinese ceramic tiles industry, attended the hearing and made speeches, clearly opposing the adoption of safeguard measures for ceramic tiles products. During this period, Foshan Bureau of Commerce provided the conference room and professional equipment to organize and guarantee the local enterprises involved to participate in the video hearing smoothly. On December 17, we submitted a written review after the hearing, reiterating our views and positions.

Affected by the pandemic, CCCMC's litigation response guidance, organization, coordination and communication work were all completed online, giving full play to the "four-entity linkage" mechanism of trade remedy. The government, chamber of commerce, enterprises and lawyers cooperated with each other, always maintained efficient and close communication, and ensured the orderly progress of defense work in the industry. The final victory was the result of the joint efforts of all parties in the four-entity linkage. The success of this case is not easy. CCCMC reminds all enterprises that, despite the termination of the safeguard investigation, it does not rule out that the ceramic tiles industry of Malaysia will restrict China's export through other measures in the future. Please maintain a proper pace and do a good job in self-discipline when exporting to Malaysia, so as to avoid causing new trade friction cases again.