DGTR to Conduct Hearing on Safeguard Duty for Solar Cell Imports

The DGTR has called an oral hearing on July 3, 2020, to take forward the ongoing probe on the continued imposition of safeguard duty on solar cell imports.

The investigation arm of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has called all concerned parties for an oral hearing on July 3, 2020, to take forward the ongoing probe for the continued imposition of safeguard duty on solar cell imports.

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The probe was launched in March this year when an application for review and extension of safeguard duty had been filed by Mundra Solar PV, Jupiter Solar Power, and Jupiter International through the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA).

The companies have sought continued imposition of the safeguard duty, imposed on imports of “Solar Cells whether or not assembled in modules or panels” into India to protect the domestic producers of like and directly competitive products from serious injury or threat of serious injury caused by such increased imports. They have asked the government for the continued imposition of the duty for a further period of four years.

India first imposed the duty on imports of solar panels from China and Malaysia on July 30, 2018, for a period of two years. China accounts for nearly 80 percent of module supplies in India. India currently levies a 15 percent safeguard duty on imports of solar cells and modules from China and Malaysia. That tax expires at the end of July.

“The oral hearing in the investigation was scheduled through digital video conference on June 11, 2020, and was postponed by the authority due to certain administrative exigencies. The aforesaid hearing will now be held on July 3, 2020,” DGTR issued in a  notification.

The commerce ministry has proposed imposing 25 percent customs duty on solar modules from August, which can be raised to 40 percent from April 2022. On solar cells, it has proposed 15 percent duty, rising to 25 percent in 2022. On solar inverters, an import duty of 20 percent is proposed.

The renewable energy ministry has also recently proposed imposing customs duties on some solar power equipment as part of the country’s goal of becoming self-sufficient.

Power Minister RK Singh had formally outlined a series of steps last week, to combat the ‘risks’ of imports in the ‘strategic’ power sector. The measures, while stopping short of mentioning China include plans for tariff barriers, financing support from government-owned institutions to encourage domestic equipment usage, more testing ‘safeguards’ against foreign equipment and a slew of fresh prior permissions that will be required for imports from ‘adversary’ countries, as the minister described it.

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Ayush Verma

Ayush is a staff writer at saurenergy.com and writes on renewable energy with a special focus on solar and wind. Prior to this, as an engineering graduate trying to find his niche in the energy journalism segment, he worked as a correspondent for iamrenew.com.