‘Interested Parties’ in Anti-Subsidy Investigation on Malaysian Solar Glass Imports

The Director-General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has published a list of parties interested in its anti-subsidy investigation concerning the import of textured (tempered) glass from Malaysia.

This glass is used in solar PV panels and solar thermal applications. The textured glass in consideration has a minimum of 90.5% transmission, with a thickness not exceeding 4.2 mm (including tolerance of 0.2 mm). Further, one dimension should exceed 1,500 mm, whether coated or uncoated.

Eight parties expressed their interest in the investigation. They included the Xinyi Solar (Malaysia) that submitted an exporter questionnaire and the Embassy of Malaysia, which submitted a Government response. Meanwhile, Waaree Energies, Goldi Solar, Patanjali Renewable Energy, and Insolation Energy, submitted importer questionnaires.

The All India Solar Industries Association (AISMA) registered as an interested party but did not file a response. The domestic industry, also listed as an interested party, was represented by APJ-SLG Law Offices.


Background: 

Previously, the DGTR announced that the second hearing in the anti-subsidy investigation concerning the import of textured (tempered) glass from Malaysia would take place on July 24, 2020.

Earlier, Gujarat Borosil Limited had filed an application before the DGTR for the imposition of countervailing duty on imports of textured toughened (tempered) glass from Malaysia.

It alleged that the producers of tempered glass in Malaysia had benefitted from subsidies provided at various levels by the government of Malaysia and other public bodies. The subsidies consisted of both direct and potential transfer of funds or liabilities.

The company had furnished information on various parameters related to the adverse impact on the domestic industry caused by the alleged subsidized glass imports from Malaysia.

It was argued that programs like buyer credit guarantee and export credit refinancing offered to the exporters were subsidies since they involve a financial contribution from the governments, including public bodies, to benefit the recipient.

Subsequently, the DGTR initiated an investigation into the alleged subsidization and the ensuing material harm caused to the domestic market. The investigation will also determine the degree and effect of the subsidies to recommend the amount of countervailing duty.

Borosil Gujarat, in its submission, had said that the items produced by them and the tempered glass imported from Malaysia are alike, with no difference between the two. The two are technically and commercially substitutable and should be treated as “like articles” under the rules.

The investigation covers a 12-month period stretching from April 2018 to March 2019, and the injury investigation includes the data for the previous three years.

Domestic solar manufacturers have commented in the past that the Gujarat Borosil has essentially become a monopoly when it comes to solar glass manufacturing by filing petitions for anti-dumping investigations and blocking imports. Smaller manufacturers have claimed that it hurts their business as Borosil’s higher prices prevent them from competing with large module manufacturers.

Last year, the government imposed anti-dumping duty on the import of textured tempered coated and uncoated glass from Malaysia for five years. The investigation concluded that the domestic industry suffered material injury due to the export of solar glass to India below normal price from Malaysia, leading to an anti-dumping duty imposition for five years to remove injury to the domestic industry. This was preceded by Borosil filing a petition for the imposition of an anti-dumping duty.

Recently, the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance issued a notification imposing safeguard duty on the import of solar cells and modules for another year starting July 30, 2020. The announcement came hot on the heels of the DGTR’s recommendation supporting the extension.