Power Update

Safeguard duty on import of solar panels opposed

All India Solar Industries Association (AISIA) has strongly opposed the proposed blanket safeguard duty on import of solar panels and cells. It said that the levy will badly impact solar manufacturers operating out of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ) across the country.

Gyanesh Chaudhary, General Secretary of AISIA said, “SEZ units are treated on par with foreign manufacturers and any hence any safeguard duty will be detrimental to the Indian solar industry as a whole.”

However, in his opinion, AISIA has made a strong case for specific anti-dumping duty on imports from China which is flooding the Indian market with its cheap solar modules making domestic industry unviable.

According to Chaudhary, India has 3.1 GW of installed capacity of solar cells out of which 2 GW, more than 60 per cent is situated in SEZs. Further, out of 8.3 GW of solar module manufacturing facilities of 3.8 GW are situated in SEZs. “Hence, the indigenous manufactures situated in SEZ will come under the ambit any blanket duty that will be imposed on solar cells and modules which will make them uncompetitive,” Chaudhary said in a statement.

In 2016-17, the estimated demand of solar modules was around 6 GW whereas the demand is expected to go up to 10 GW in 2017-18. Under the WTO framework a member country can impose a safeguard duty if the increased quantity of imports may be either an absolute increase or an increase relative to domestic production which is causing serious injury or a threat of serious injury to the domestic industry. ‘Serious injury’ is defined as a significant overall impairment in the position of a domestic industry.

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