The dependence of India’s solar ambitions on imports was exposed by the ministry of commerce’s revelation the three companies which brought an anti dumping (AD) complaint before it effectively comprise all the nation’s domestic solar manufacturing industry.
Whilst acknowledging trade case complainants Indosolar, Jupiter Solar and Websol Energy Systems accounted for only 11.96% of total Indian production during the period investigated 2011 and the first half of 2012 ministry officials reserved the right to exclude the country’s remaining 39 producers from the definition.
The final report explaining the May 22 recommendation to apply anti-dumping duties to solar cells and modules imported from China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the U.S., stated that the 39 other producers had failed to respond to approaches from the investigation.
Ministry officials reserved the right to presume the companies in question failed to back the anti dumping complaint because they import dumped goods and will be adversely hit by duties. It was further pointed out, none of the parties attempting to prevent the imposition of duties had advanced evidence the non-commital 39 companies were not importing dumped goods.
Glass case precedent
The ministry also cited the precedent set by the High Court of Madras when it accepted the 4% of the soda ash market accounted for by Indian manufacturer DCW Ltd effectively constituted 100% of the market for the same reasons, relating to a writ issued by French glassmaker Saint Gobain.
Investigators agreed to exclude Indian companies Moser Baer and Tata BP Solar from the defeinition of domestic industry after both admitted importing dumped products but dismissed claims there are 90 Indian solar product manufacturers, rather than the 42 mentioned by the original complainants in the case.
Pro-duty complainants described that charge as ‘baseless’ and said the 42 figure was based on information held by the Indian ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE).
The thorny question of whether the petitioners should not be considered domestic industry because of their status as Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and Export Oriented Units (OEU) was also debated.
Opponents argued that, as both types of business are constituted as such to focus on exports, they cannot be considered domestic industry. But ministry of commerce officials dismissed the claim, stating such businesses are based in India, manufacture the goods in question in the country and sell them in India, in direct competition with Indian rivals.