Indian Solar Exports to the US to Incur 25% Safeguard Duty From June 5

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), a body formed under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will hold a public hearing on the ongoing investigation in the case of imposition of Safeguard Duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia.

The date of the hearing has been fixed on June 26, 2018.

Recently, Mercom reported that the Commerce and Industry Minister, Suresh Prabhu, gave his approval for the creation of DGTR in the department which will be the apex national authority for administering all trade remedial measures including anti-dumping, countervailing duties, and safeguard measures.

The hearing will be presided over by Sunil Kumar, additional secretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The invitation of participation is open to all the interested parties. A maximum of two representatives will be considered from any interested party. In case more than two persons want to participate, a request can be sent by 10th June to the appropriate authority.

Only a few days ago, the Delhi High Court disposed a petition filed by ACME Solar against the levy of 70 percent ‘provisional’ Safeguard Duty on solar cell imports from China and Malaysia. This major development provided a breather to the module suppliers as they will not have to pay the ‘provisional’ Safeguard Duty of 70 percent for a period of 200 days which was prescribed by the office of Directorate General (DG) Safeguards.

This ruling by the Delhi High Court is similar to the Madras High Court ruling of April 2018, in which it dismissed the writ petition filed by domestic project developer Shapoorji & Pallonji against the levy of 70 percent safeguard duty for 200 days as prescribed by the office of DG Safeguards.

Case Background

Previously, in a preliminary finding, the Directorate General of Safeguards Customs and Central Excise had recommended a 70 percent safeguard duty on solar cells imported from China and Malaysia for a period of 200 days.

The recommendation was the result of an investigation carried out by DG Safeguards based on the petition filed by the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA).

The petition was filed by ISMA on behalf of domestic manufacturers including Mundra Solar PV Limited, Indosolar Limited, Jupiter Solar Power Limited, Websol Energy Systems Limited, and Helios Photo Voltaic Limited.

The companies claimed that they collectively manufacture more than 50 percent of all solar cells manufactured in India. The applicants had requested immediate application of a Safeguard Duty for four years.

The DGTR hearing on the ongoing investigation is likely to bring some clarity on the ongoing ambiguity surrounding Safeguard Duty which has been causing turbulence in the domestic solar industry for months.