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MNRE opposes levy on imported solar cells; says not right time

According to reports, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is opposing the Commerce Ministry’s recommendation to slap an anti-dumping duty on imported solar cells, saying “it is not the right time” to impose the levy.

Last week, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry recommended imposing a restrictive duty in the range of USD 0.11 to 0.81 per watt on solar cells imported from the US, China, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei.

A final decision on the recommendations, which is expected to provide relief for struggling domestic manufacturers, will be taken by the Finance Ministry.

“We are opposing it (anti-dumping duty). From our side, we have said that it is not the right time…Because there are a lot of projects in the pipeline,” Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary at the MNRE, said here today.

The recommendation of the Directorate General of Anti-dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD), under the Commerce Ministry, came after a one-and-a-half year probe into allegations of cheap solar cells being dumped into India.

According to Kapoor, the Finance Ministry has to take the final view on the matter. He was speaking on the sidelines of a conference organised by industry body Ficci.

Most domestic solar manufacturers have been raising concerns about the dumping of cheap solar cells into India.

As per the Indian Solar Manufacturers’ Association, last year, imports of solar products into India touched Rs 6,000 crore but Indian manufacturers did not even get 2 per cent of that business.

While making the recommendations, DGAD had said the domestic industry has suffered due to the cheaper imports.

The levy would be applicable “whether or not assembled partially or fully in modules or panels or on glass or some other suitable substrates, originating in or exported” from these countries, a Commerce Ministry notification had said.

“…The product under consideration has been exported to India from subject countries below its normal value, thus resulting in dumping of the product; the domestic industry has suffered material injury due to dumping of the product under consideration,” the DGAD probe had said.

To protect the interests of local players, the panel proposed that Chinese imports should attract duties of USD 0.64-0.81 per watt, while the levy suggested for such cells from the US is USD 0.11 – 0.48 per watt.

Duties of USD 0.62 per watt and USD 0.59 per watt have been recommended for solar cell imports from Malaysia and Taipei, respectively.

The MNRE has been working on ways to bolster renewable energy in the country, including from solar sources. India has more than 2,600 MW of installed solar generation capacity.

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