India levies anti-dumping duty on solar cell component from four nations
India has imposed an anti-dumping duty of up to US$1,559 per tonne on imports of a certain type of sheet used in the solar cells from China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand for five years.
India solar panel
This is done in order to safeguard domestic players against cheap imports. The Department of Revenue is imposing a duty which is in the range of US$537 to US$1,559 per tonne on imports of ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) sheet used in solar module imported from these four countries.
The EVA sheets are used for encapsulation of solar PV cells performing adhesion and cushioning functions. This is one of the essential components which keep the glass, cell, and back sheet integrated and support the module mechanically during its service life.
The harshest duty has been imposed on Saudi Arabian EVA sheet manufacturers. Other than Saudi Specialized Products Company, all other manufacturers have to pay a duty of $1,559 per tonne. The list of EVA manufacturers and the corresponding duty imposed on them are as follows:
In April 2018, the office of Directorate General of Anti-Dumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) [now the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR)] had initiated an investigation on import of EVA sheets for solar modules from the above-mentioned countries.
Initially, imports from Republic of Korea (Korea) were also part of the investigation but later on, DGTR found that the imports from Korea were mainly for EVA resins, a raw material for EVA sheets and not the sheets. So, imports from Korea were excluded from the investigation. The investigation started to post the petition filed by local EVA manufacturers like RenewSys India, Vishakha Renewables Private Limited, and Allied Glasses Private Limited.
Renewsys India, the renewable energy arm of conglomerate, Enpee Group, in its petition quoted that there is no known difference between the EVA sheets imported from the concerned countries and the ones which are manufactured indigenously. The company can produce EVA sheets of all widths and thickness as desired by solar module manufacturers in India.
The investigation focused on the EVA sheets imported to India between 1 October 2016 and 30 September 2017. Imports of the EVA sheets from these countries increased to 6,367 tonnes during the investigation period from 4,674 tonnes in full-year 2017.
The imports of components used in the solar industry have increased substantially since the launch of the government’s ambitious solar policy – the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. The Mission earlier had set the target of deploying 20 GW of grid-connected solar power by 2022, which was later revised to 100 GW. The revised target was approved by Cabinet in June 2015.
Post the revised target, the industry has witnessed a spurt in the imports. Many countries have started supplying solar components to tap the growing solar power sector in India. This has eroded the profit margins of local suppliers. The duty is aimed to establish fair trade practices and a level playing field for domestic producers with regard to foreign producers and exporters.