Indian ministry rejected Ex-Im Bank dumping role

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An attempt by the Indian solar companies trying to persuade their government to impose anti-dumping (AD) duties on solar imports to take into account the financial support for exporters provided by the Export-Import Bank of the United States, was refused.

Issued May 22, the 156-page report detailing the findings of the Indian Ministry of Commerce’s anti-dumping investigation revealed respondents in favour of the imposition of duties on solar goods made in the U.S. – as well as China, Taiwan and Malaysia – called for the financial support afforded Indian companies buying U.S.-made goods to be taken into account when calculating a fair price for U.S. imports.

Whilst ministry officials accepted the Ex-Im Bank’s attempts to make U.S. products more attractive would affect the market, they agreed with anti-duty respondents such financial instruments should have no relevance on whether products had been dumped.

The Ex-Im Bank debate was one of the features highlighted in the ‘miscellaneous representations’ section of the ministry’s report, which ended in a recommendation to impose AD duties, after an investigation into imports in 2011 and the first half of 2012.

Investigation started before evidence of harm presented

Officials refuted claims the ministry had launched the investigation without sufficiently testing the accuracy of data provided by the complainants and had started proceedings before evidence of any harm caused by dumping had been brought forward.

The government department also rejected a claim the data provided by complainants contained ‘erroneous import transactions’ relating to the U.S., the removal of which would leave the American share of imports below the threshhold required to consider it and would have resulted in a negative dumping margin from the U.S.

The final report called for duties of $0.11/W to be applied to solar imports from U.S. thin film giant First Solar.

The decision to exclude EU products from the investigation prompted anti-duty respondents to call into doubt the validity of an enquiry labelled ‘discriminatory’.

Ministry officials accepted EU imports were above the volume threshhold to be included but gave no credence to a claim EU imports sold at an average INR 41 per wattt (US$0.698 per watt).

Investigators said only German products, at 2.62% of solar imports, were shipped in commercial volumes and sold for INR 55 per watt with the EU’s total market share just 5.46%. Subsequent figures, supplied by the Indian directorate general of commercial intelligence and statistics, stated EU imports had an average price of INR 61.43 per watt, well above the INR 47.98 per watt of dumped products and also above the prices of Indian domestic producers.

The pro-duty brigade pointed out there have since been separate investigations launched into imports from the EU and Japan.

The ministry of commerce also rejected an assertion AD duties would be against Indian public interest by driving up energy prices, stating AD measures would secure a level playing field for domestic manufacturers, driving investment which would lower prices over time.