Caribbean Cement Company has admitted to selling export cement at cheaper prices than it does in its home market, but insists that the practice does not amount to dumping, as defined under international trade rules.
The admission comes as Caribbean Cement continues to pursue importers here, and their suppliers, for selling at prices that it considers harmful to the industry it dominates.
The company, however, said its pricing policy is a deliberate strategy aimed at holding market share overseas. "Carib Cement is confirming that its export price is below its local market price," public relations officer Lystra Sharp said in response to Wednesday Business queries.
"This is so in order to maintain competitiveness in the export market," she said. "This simply means that products must be priced in line with similar products in the export market in order to be competitive." Sharp argued that Caribbean Cement’s practice does not amount to ’dumping’, since that determination rests on whether "there is injury or the threat of injury to a domestic industry".
"This means that when we export to markets which do not have local manufacturing capabilities and our export price is below that of our local price, this does not constitute dumping."
She argued that the pricing strategy must be predatory - that is, used to drive down the profits of local manufacturers and drive them from the market - to be labelled dumping.
The World Trade Organization defines dumping as having occurred where "a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charged in its own home market", but says governments are allowed to act in protection of local operations only where there is genuine or material injury to the competing domestic industry. Caribbean Cement’s sales office quoted the ex-factory price of Carib Cement Plus at J$585 per bag on Tuesday.