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Why decision not to levy dumping duties on solar items will go undisputed

According to reports, the Finance Ministry’s decision not to notify anti-dumping duties on solar cells and modules, as recommended by the Commerce Ministry, is likely to go unchallenged as several domestic producers, in a dramatic change of stance, are now not in favour of the proposed levy.

“It is quite surprising that a number of domestic producers of solar cells and modules, who had lodged the complaint against cheap imports of the product, have now changed their views,” a Commerce Ministry official told BusinessLine.

The Directorate General of Anti-Dumping (DGAD) had recommended steep anti-dumping duties against sellers from the US, China and Taiwan, as they were found to be dumping their items at prices lower than what they were charging at home.

“The domestic solar manufacturers have belatedly realised that the cheap imports were not really hurting their interests and the industry would benefit if there are no penal duties,” an official from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said.

The MNRE, which has launched the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission argued that the duties would increase the cost of solar power production by at least ₹ 1.6 crore per MW and tendered projects worth 4,000 MW would get stuck.

The government has assured the manufacturers that all central PSUs are going in for solar projects and all their orders will go to domestic players. They’ve been told that the demand will be more than they could cater to.

While Vikram Solar, one of the early members of the Indian Solar Manufacturer’s Association that had supported the anti-dumping duty investigations, had changed its stance earlier this month, many others have also fallen in line.

The ISMA, a group representing 25 domestic manufacturers of solar devices including Indo Solar and Moser Baer, too, has softened its earlier stand in favour of the anti-dumping duties, and has said that it was sensitive to challenges faced by the Government due to energy deficit, the official said.

The ISMA had earlier said that more than 70 per cent of the installed PV capacity is idle in the country and hundreds of employees have been laid off because of cheap imports of solar panels, cells and glass flooding the market.

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