On a quarterly basis, the amount of imported solar cells and modules coming into India from foreign shores registered an increase of 50%, while exports from India rose 93%. (Source: Mercom India Research)
- India imported 22% less solar cells and modules during 9M/2019 YoY, according to Mercom India Research’s assessment of Department of Commerce data
- In Q3/2019, China was the largest supplier of solar modules and cells to India even though its business declined 13% on an annual basis; for Malaysia the business went down 83%
- Other regions that saw their share increase in the Indian market during Q3/2019 are Thailand whose imports to India went up 680%, followed by Vietnam with 393% increase and Hong Kong with 125%
- Indian exports to other countries rose 46% in 9M/2019 on YoY basis with a total amount of $135 million
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The effects of safeguard duty imposition by the Indian government on imported solar cells and modules from China and Malaysia since July 2018 have started to show – in Q3/2019, imports from these countries to India declined 13% and 83% respectively on an annual basis.
This has cleared up the way for other Southeast Asian regions to up their share, with imports during this period increasing from
- Thailand by 680%,
- Vietnam by 393%,
- Hong Kong by 125%,
according to data from the Department of Commerce compiled by Mercom India Research in its India Solar EXIM Tracker.
Still, China was still the largest supplier of solar modules and cells to India in Q3/2019 followed by Vietnam, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In all, India imported solar cells and modules worth $598.1 million in Q3/2019, going up sequentially by around 50%; over the previous year, this is a decline of 1%.
During the first three quarters of 2019, India imported solar cells and modules worth $1.6 billion, a number dropping by some 22% over 9M/2018.
In terms of exports, Indian exports to other countries registered an increase of about 46% as per the data available adding up to a total of $135 million with maximum Q3/2019 exports going to South Africa and Belgium.
India had imposed safeguard duties to protect the interests of its domestic solar PV products manufacturing industry. It started with 25% effective from July 30, 2018 to July 29, 2019, down to 20% as of July 30, 2019 until January 29, 2020, and finally it will be 15% for the last six months from January 30, 2020 to July 29, 2020 (see 25% Safeguard Duty Imposed By India). However, this won’t be the end of India’s protectionism for its solar manufacturing sector.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has apparently recommended the Ministry of Finance to impose Basic Customs Duty on imported solar cells and modules beginning April 1, 2021 starting with 10%, for both solar PV cells and modules, increasing in a phasic manner to eventually reach 30% from January 1, 2023, with a view to give a further boost to the domestic industry (see MNRE For Customs Duty On Imported PV Cells & Modules).