Indian proposes solar cells duty to protect domestic jobs

9 Jan 18

The Indian government has proposed a 70% duty on solar equipment from China and Malaysia to protect its domestic industry from “serious injury”. 

The finance ministry of India, which is the largest importer of Chinese solar equipment, proposed the safeguard duty, which would remain in effect for 200 days, citing the potential for domestic job losses.

It said in a document: “Existing critical circumstances justify the immediate imposition of a provisional safeguard duty in order to save the domestic industry from further serious injury, which would be difficult to repair.”

The Government of India’s Directorate General of Safeguards said in a recommendation last week to the finance ministry that solar cells are “being imported into India in such increased quantities and under such conditions so as to cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the domestic industry manufacturing like or directly competitive products”.

The directorate is under India’s Ministry of Finance and was set up to investigate ‘serious injury’ to the country’s domestic industry as a consequence of increased import of a product.  

For the duty to be levied, the finance ministry has to accepts the recommendations of the Directorate General of Safeguards.

The document said China’s solar exports to India constituted 1.52% of its total global exports during 2012, reaching almost 22% in 2016.

India’s annual manufacturing capacity for solar cells is only around 3 gigawatts, compared with the average requirement of 20 gigawatts, a government note said last month. 

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