India rejects anti-dumping duties

Indian solar project developers heaved a collective sigh of relief as the anti-dumping duty deadline passed without any official announcement from the Indian government, which means there will be no anti-dumping duties in the country on solar cells and modules imported from China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States.

The Indian Finance Ministry, which was to decide on the levying of anti-dumping duties by August 22, did not announce any measures as the date passed. Two key officials at the Indian Finance Ministry declined to comment on the issue when contacted by pv magazine.

Solar cell and module producers and solar project developers, the two groups with opposing interests on the matter, were waiting with bated breath for the announcement from the Ministry of Finance. Earlier, the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping & Allied Duties, a government unit under the Ministry of Commerce, had recommended in its final finding on May 22 to levy anti-dumping duties in the range of $0.11-$0.81 per watt on solar cell imports from the China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States. In a departure from classification by U.S. and European Union authorities on the two leading technologies (PV and thin film), Indian authorities recommended imposition of anti-dumping duties on both solar cells and thin film. The Commerce Ministry sent its recommendation to the Finance Ministry, whose assent to the recommendation would have had to have come within the following three months.

In early August, replying to a query from the Indian Parliament’s upper house, Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the government had received a number of representations arguing both for and against imposition of anti-dumping duties and added that both the Commerce Ministry’s recommendations as well as the opinions received were being considered by the Ministry of Finance.

However, other than the country’s Commerce Ministry, some key ministers in the newly formed cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were against levying of anti-dumping duties. On the final day of the three-month period, Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal, who also heads the Renewable Energy Ministry, declined to comment on the issue when queried by press. "The subject of anti-dumping relates to another ministry, which will take an appropriate call as and when it is required," Goyal reportedly told the waiting press after meeting a delegation of solar power equipment producers who have been demanding imposition of anti-dumping duty on import of solar cells and modules. In the past two months, Goyal has stated more than once that domestic solar power equipment manufacturing capacity of 700-800 MW was not sufficient to meet the government’s ambitious plans of adding more power generation capacity through renewable energy sources. Nitin Gadkari, another key minister in the new government, had written to the commerce minister in June opposing plans to levy anti-dumping duties, saying this would escalate the cost of solar power in the country.

In a note submitted to the Finance Ministry in August, India’s Associated Chamber of Commerce & Ministry of India (ASSOCHAM) stated that if anti-dumping duties were imposed, the project cost for the solar industry would increase anywhere from 20% to 75%. Another 17 GW is to be installed to achieve the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission target of 20 GW by 2022. The proposed anti-dumping duties would have increase the total project cost by almost €2.8 billion (INR 221.2 billion) to nearly €11 billion (INR 875 billion), according to ASSOCHAM.