Trade War: India’s anti-dumping investigation may reach verdict next week

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According to the Indian Solar Independent Power Producers Association (SIPPA) the deadline for anti-dumping investigation evidence submissions is today, moved from 25 July and a final decision could be made as early as next week.

In November 2012, the solar manufacturers association (SMA), representing three domestic solar manufactures, Indosolar, Jupiter Solar Power and Websol, submitted a petition to investigate the dumping of PV products from China, Taiwan, Malaysia and the US. Last month the investigation expanded to include the EU and Japan.

The SMA alleged that thin-film and silicon PV cells and modules imported into India from the USA and other Asian countries were being sold at low prices, violating fair trade regulations.

Paul Gupta, managing director at Indosolar, one of the member companies of the SMA, told PV Tech that Indosolar “hopes for elimination of below cost dumping by imposition of a suitable anti-dumping tax”.

“Injury and effect have been documented and validated,” claimed Gupta, however since the USA and EU “already ruled in favour of the [dumping duty] petitioners and hundreds of pages of documentary proof of dumping and subsidies have been proven” – Indosolar considers non-imposition of duties “a remote possibility”.

He added that Indosolar and the Indian government “have taken cognizance of the precedential rulings”. And that Indosolar hopes to see a “demand revival for local manufacturers at a reasonable price” from anti-dumping legislation to “allow the supply chain to survive and grow in this country”.

Indosolar believes that new anti-dumping duties, for local manufacturers, will mean a “return to health” and also the “creation of additional manufacturing capacity from both local and overseas companies”.

Indosolar did not wish to comment on proceedings not in their favour, or on the EU and Japan inclusion in the investigation.  

SIPPA, which represents developers in India, argued against dumping duties as petitioned by the SMA. The investigation has torn the Indian solar market in two – between manufacturers and developers.

A preliminary hearing was held on the 18 July, where enough prima-facie evidence was found to suggest the domestic solar manufacturing industry of India was being damaged.

The investigation still has to determine a fair percentage for anti-dumping duties, the SMA has petitioned for 40-200% depending on the country, and Bridge to India has suggested a 20% duty to satisfy both parties.

The ministry of commerce overseeing the investigation declined to comment.

Analyst firm Bridge to India has said the SMA claim is supported as most of the accused foreign cell manufacturer’s respondents “have suffered significant financial losses in the past two years by selling at unviable prices”, according to its weekly analysis.

However the case from developers that the price of solar power will go up with anti-dumping duties, harming the industry “holds little ground as far as the proceedings are concerned”.

If the investigation proposes anti-dumping duties, Indian cell and module manufacturers will gain, but developers with projects still under construction in many parts of India may be at risk of “being squeezed between commissioning deadlines and a rise in prices which might make many projects non-viable”.

According to Bridge to India anti-dumping duties could create “insulated zones of limited competition, allowing higher-cost manufacturers to survive, driving up the cost of solar power” also threatening employment, solar price parity and India’s future progress and competitiveness internationally.

Bridge to India has suggested if “India wants to support a domestic solar industry; it should look not towards cell and module manufacturing, but towards the downstream employment, towards the balance of systems and towards innovation” and that overall the government’s efforts “should go towards fostering innovation in India to provide solar solutions”.

There are also still doubts as to whether the investigation follows the World Trade Organisation (WTO) standards, the SMA could be deemed as misrepresenting the market in its limited representation of three manufacturers.

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