Monday, 2 April, 2012

Preliminary findings in TechNova’s CtP offset plate anti-dumping case

Hearing on anti-dumping duties on offset plates on 10 April 2012

In a document (F.No.14/7/2011-DGAD)dated 16 March 2012 from the Directorate General of Anti Dumping & Allied Duties of the Ministry of Commerce of the Government of India, the preliminary findings have been stated on the “Imports of Digital Offset Printing Plates originating in or exported from China PR and Japan.” While the document discusses the issues at some length, essentially the findings propose varying anti-dumping duties against plates imported from Japan and the Peoples Republic of China which will have the effect of increasing the prices of these offset plates. The benchmark price of violet CtP plates has been suggested or indicated at US$6.6; for thermal CtP plates at US$ 5.84; and, for CtCP plates which are also being considered as digital and not ‘conventional’ plates, the benchmark price has been suggested or indicated at US$5.26.

The implications vary from printer to printer and from plate to plate. An approximate calculation which includes a 10% markup for the importer/distributor/channel partner on the net effect of the anti-dumping duty has been made on the basis of one US$ is equal to INR 51.2. The net effect seems to be that violet CtP plates which are currently available around INR 370 per square metre will cost around INR 430 when the anti-dumping duty comes into effect. Thermal CtP plates will go from the current price of INR 320to 360 per square metre to at least INR 380. And, CtCP plates which currently cost about INR 260 per square metre will go up to INR 340.If these anti-dumping duties are affected as suggested by the preliminary findings, the prices of thermal CtP plates will be the least affected and those of CtCP plates will be the most affected.Violet plates will be affected by a value that is in between the other two.

It is ironic that CtCP plates are the most affected, since CtCP devices have also been purchased by printers in smaller cities and towns or by trade houses who supply plates to printers who cannot afford their own CtP of any kind bu tare keen to improve quality. In addition since the manufacture of graphic arts films has been stopped by most manufacturers,increasingly, smaller printers have no choice if they want to improve print quality or compete, but to go to CtCP which they thought was cheaper because it worked on conventional plates that are manufactured by TechNova within India and are also competitively available as imports.

It is true that many of the leading commercial and packaging printers who use thermal CtP plates will be least affected by the price increase since it is likely that they are not buying plates imported from China. However the middle rung printer and the lower-middle rung printers who have bought a used 4-colour press or are thinking of buying one will be the hardest hit whether they buy their own violet computer to plate device or whether they first get their feet wet by buying plates from a trade house which supplies to many printers in the area. Especially hard hit will be the CtCP systems which are becoming more and more popular because there is clear cost saving that brings a film-less quality improving technology based on widely available conventional plates to the smaller towns and cities.

There is a lot of discussion in the preliminary findings about CtCP because TechNova wants to establish that CtCP too is a CtP device and that conventional plates and those especially meant for CtCP are also digital CtP plates. In fact when conventional plates are made especially for CtCP they can be made even more cheaply because the matt layer for vacuum can be dispensed with.

My view is still what it was earlier,that these issues are not meaningfully addressed or discussed by the industry at large because it is so fragmented and inarticulate. It seems that most of the printers associations are also silent if not complicit. The only recourse for printers is to download the preliminary findings and study them and calculate the effect on your business now and going forward. I think that most printers would not like to harm TechNova but would simply like a level playing field in the sourcing and prices of plates so that they can be increasingly competitive and survive.

There is an open oral hearing in Delhi on 10 April 2012 at Udyog Bhavan at which interested parties can attend. I urge printers, publishers and packaging converters to attend and to also ask their associations to try and take a meaningful stand for the community as a whole. You can register by emailing or contacting: Satish Kumar, Director, telephone number 011- 2306 3642; ; or, . You can also download the preliminary findings from We plan to put a poll on our website in which you can also give your views on this matter as well.

Naresh Khanna

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