India Proposes Tariffs on China, Malaysia Solar Cells

by Anindya Upadhyay, Bloomberg

India has recommended imposing a 25 percent safeguard duty on solar cells from China and Malaysia, saying the overseas supplies have caused or threatened “serious injury” to domestic manufacturers.

Under the proposed plan, the safeguard duty would be applicable for two years, India’s Directorate General of Trade Remedies, a unit of the commerce ministry, said in the conclusion of its findings posted on its website Monday. The tariff would be lowered to 20 percent for the first half of the second year and to 15 percent by the second half. The recommendations need the finance ministry’s approval before they take effect.

“Imposition of safeguard duty in this case would be in public interest because it will prevent complete erosion of manufacturing base of solar industry in the country,” the DGTR said in the recommendation.

India, the largest importer of Chinese solar equipment, first proposed a 70 percent safeguard duty in January to protect its local industry. Solar project developers, who rely on overseas components, have countered that the move would jeopardize the nation’s plans to boost its use of renewable energy.

Cheap Imports

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy estimated last year that depending on India’s annual solar cell manufacturing capacity of 3 gigawatts alone means the country can only meet 15 percent of its annual installation target of 20 gigawatts.