India has launched a probe into alleged dumping of solar cells from China, Taiwan and Malaysia with an aim to guard domestic players from below-cost imports. Indian Solar Manufacturers Association has filed an application for investigation into dumping of the cells from these countries. The commerce ministry’s investigation arm — Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) — has found prima facie evidence of dumping of ‘solar cells whether or not assembled partially or fully in modules or panels or on glass or some other suitable substrates’ by these countries.
If established that dumping has caused material injury to domestic players, the DGAD would recommend imposition of anti-dumping duty on the imports. Anti-dumping duties are levied to provide a level playing field to local industry by guarding against cheap below-cost imports. The probing authority “hereby initiates an investigation into the alleged dumping, and consequent injury to the domestic industry,” the DGAD said in a notification. The period of investigation covers April 2016 and June 2017 (15 months). However, for the purpose of injury investigation, the period will also cover the data of 2013-16.
Increasing imports and dumping of goods from China have always been an area of concern for Indian companies. India’s exports to China were only USD 10.2 billion in 2016-17 but imports aggregated to USD 61.3 billion. DGAD is also probing dumping of several other products such as certain chemicals and steel products from China and other countries. India is one of the most attractive markets for global producers due to its large middle class population.
Imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regime. Both India and China are members of the Geneva-based body. The duty is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for domestic producers vis-a- vis foreign producers and exporters.