India and Taiwan Fail to Reach Agreement at WTO over Solar Safeguard Duty, Continue Talks

Recently India and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu conducted consultations at the World Tarde Organization (WTO) upon the levy of 25 percent safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia.

The delegations from both the WTO members met with the view of exchanging views on the safeguard measure and reaching an understanding. But no agreement was reached. Instead, India and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu have agreed to continue these discussions and that their reciprocal rights and obligations under the Safeguards Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 will be maintained.

In September 2018, the delegation for the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu at the WTO had requested consultation with New Delhi in the matter. The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu were second after Malaysia to seek consultations with India regarding the levy of safeguard duty on solar imports.

In August 2018, the Malaysian delegation at the WTO had requested for consultations with India on the imposition of 25 percent safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia. The objective was to exchange views and seek clarification regarding the proposed measures and reaching an understanding on ways to achieve the objectives set out in Article 8.1 of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards.

Previously, at a WTO safeguard committee meeting, the European Union and Japan had criticized the conduct of the safeguard duty investigation and the initial findings. India’s actions will create serious domestic shortages and even risk the environment, the committee opined. The European Union said it trusts India will refrain from imposing any definitive measure while Japan said an investigation should include reasonable public notice and other appropriate means to ensure interested parties can present evidence.

Recently, the United States accepted China’s request to enter consultations with regards to U.S. safeguard measures on imported solar photovoltaic products and domestic subsidies. On August 14, 2018, China had made the request and the U.S. granted it on August 24, 2018.

According to Mercom India Research, India’s solar imports declined drastically in the second quarter (Q2) of calendar year (CY) 2018. Solar modules and cells worth $436.6 million were imported by India in Q2 CY 2018, almost 60 percent less than the ~$1 billion of solar cells and modules imported by India in the previous quarter, Q1 CY 2018.

Saumy Prateek Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.