REGULATION | Staff Reporter, India

India's 25% tariff on solar glass imports fails domestic manufacturers

Some manufacturers are now calling for anti-dumping and countervailing duties to the tariff.

Bloomberg reports that India’s safeguard duties on Chinese imports of solar equipment have failed their purpose of protecting the country’s solar panel manufacturers, who are now campaigning for tougher measures.

The government placed a 25% tariff on imported solar panels made by Chinese and Malaysian manufacturers for two years. The unintended result is that developers have resulted in stalling projects or sourcing cheaper imports from Southeast Asian makers, according to the Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA).

“There is a duty, yet it’s not fulfilling its role,” Jupiter Solar chief executive officer Dhruv Sharma, who is also a member of ISMA’s governing council, said. “No new manufacturers came in, new capacity hasn’t come in, people are shutting shop, employment hasn’t been generated.”

The trade body will refresh a petition to include anti-dumping and countervailing duties to the safeguard tariff. “We are working on an option of filing an anti-dumping petition. Documentation is getting ready and data is being collected,” Sharma said.

India, which overtook Japan as China’s biggest solar panel export market in 2017, has been struggling to spur its nascent domestic manufacturing industry that the government estimates can meet just 15% of the country’s annual requirement.

Whilst imports from China have halved from a year earlier in the April-November period, shipments have risen nearly five-fold from Vietnam and by 26 times from Thailand, latest data from India’s commerce ministry show. Rising imports from these Southeast Asian countries are posing a new challenge for the local industry, said Sunil Rathi, a director at panel maker Waaree Energies.

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