DGTR calls for meeting on Friday over solar cells safeguard duty

The commerce ministry’s investigation arm DGTR taking probe for continued imposition of safeguard duty on solar cell imports forward has called concerned parties for oral hearing on Friday.

In March this year, an application for review and extension of safeguard duty has been filed by Mundra Solar PV, Jupiter Solar Power, and Jupiter International through Indian Solar Manufacturers Association (ISMA).

The companies have sought continued imposition of the safeguard duty, imposed on imports of “Solar Cells whether or not assembled in modules or panels” into India to protect the domestic producers of like and directly competitive products from serious injury or threat of serious injury caused by such increased imports.

They have asked the government for continued imposition of the duty for a further period of four years.

India imposed the duty for the first time on July 30, 2018 for two years.

“The oral hearing in the investigation was scheduled through digital video conference on 11th June 2020, and was postponed by the authority due to certain administrative exigencies. The aforesaid hearing will now be held on 3rd July 2020,” Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has said.

The renewable energy ministry has also proposed imposing customs duties on some solar power equipment as part of the country’s goal of becoming self-sufficient.

The commerce ministry has proposed imposing 25 per cent customs duty on solar modules from August, which can be raised to 40 per cent from April 2022. On solar cells, it has proposed 15 per cent duty, rising to 25 per cent in 2022. On solar inverters, an import duty of 20 per cent is proposed.

China accounts for nearly 80 per cent of module supplies in India. India currently levies a 15 per cent safeguard duty on imports of solar cells and modules from China and Malaysia. That tax expires at the end of July.