Solar Anti-Dumping Tariff

The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has found that crystalline silicon modules imported into the United States caused serious injury to domestic manufacturers, increasing the chances that a similar finding could be made in India. In a 4-0 vote on Friday, the USITC decided to move forward into the remedy phase of its investigation.

Suniva, a manufacturer of crystalline silicon modules, filed a Section 201 trade case supported by Solar World Americas in May 2017 claiming that harm was caused by low-price Asian imports. In the petition, Suniva sought import duties of $0.40 (~₹26.1)/W for solar cells and a $0.78 (~₹50.9)/W floor price for solar modules.

With this decision, the USITC now moves into the remedy phase of its investigation. For its next step, the commission will hold a public hearing on October 3. It is then expected to recommend tariffs and a remedy to President Trump by November 13. The president then has 60 days to act on the committee’s recommendations.

This development has serious implications for the Indian solar industry, which has a similar case pending. The office of the Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) India has initiated an investigation into that anti-dumping petition – filed by the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA) – against solar imports from China, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

“India is following the Suniva anti-dumping case closely. A decision to impose tariffs in the U.S. would make it easier for DGAD in India to make similar recommendations even though India and the U.S. are completely different markets,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO of Mercom Capital Group.

“While rising module prices will hurt developers in the short-term, the larger concern is what the level of anti‑dumping tariffs will be. The USITC recommendations set to be issued on November 3 will give DGAD a precedent that it could follow as the injury findings process will be somewhat similar,” added Mr. Prabhu.

Module price quotes in India range from $0.34 (~₹22.2)/W to $0.38 (~₹24.8)/W and have remained high in the third quarter due to increased U.S. demand brought on by the Suniva case.

At the recently concluded Renewable Energy India Expo, several developers and manufacturers told Mercom that large manufacturers in India are pushing hard for anti-dumping tariffs. Most felt that it is not a matter of whether an anti-dumping tariff will be recommended, but rather a question of how aggressive will the recommendation be.

In the end, just like in the previous instance it will be up to the Ministry of Finance and the Modi administration to decide if antidumping tariff will be imposed.

Meanwhile, the Indian Ministry of Finance has imposed an anti-dumping duty on tempered glass (solar glass) imported from China in the range of $64.04 (~₹4,179) per metric ton (MT) to $136.21 (~₹8,889)/MT. The DGAD also recently recommended the imposition of an anti-dumping duty on castings for wind-operated electricity generators originating in or exported from China.

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