While Malaysia has approached WTO to discuss solar safeguard duties with India, the Indian government has time till the Orissa High Court holds a hearing on the matter of implementation of the safeguard duty scheduled for September 19, 2018. Post the outcome of this hearing, the government is likely to take a call on levying this duty. (Photo Credit: TaiyangNews)
- Malaysia has officially knocked at the doors of WTO to take India to task for announcing safeguard duty against its solar products imported into India
- It has invited India for consultation on the subject and seek clarification regarding proposed measures
- Malaysia wants to hold this consultation as soon as possible; now India has to respond to this request
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Officials at the World Trade Organization have one more solar complaint to deal with as Malaysia has approached WTO in response to India’s decision to impose safeguard duty of 25% on imported solar cells from Malaysia and China (see 25% Safeguard Duty Imposed By India).
A few weeks back, China approached the WTO to appeal against US tariffs on Chinese products including photovoltaics (see China Heads To WTO Over US Tariffs). Previously, it was the US that filed a case with the WTO about India’s domestic content requirement for solar cells and modules that hampered the business prospects of its own companies operating in India, which it eventually won (see Final WTO Verdict In India-US Solar Dispute).
In a filing on August 30, 2018, Malaysia has requested for consultation with India on the subject of proposed implementation of safeguard duty to be able to exchange views and seek clarification regarding proposed measures. It wants to try to reach an understanding on ways to achieve the objectives set out in Article 8.1 of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards. Now India has to respond to this invitation for consultation, which Malaysia wants to hold as soon as possible with Indian representatives.
Whether or not the safeguard duty will come into effect will be decided post Orissa High Court’s hearing on the matter scheduled for September 19, 2018. Meanwhile, in a related development, the Department of Revenue of India’s Ministry of Finance has clarified that only goods specifically classified under tariff item 8541 40 11 will be subject to safeguard duty. This customs item code includes several other products than cell and modules, such as: diodes, transistors and similar semiconductor devices, photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells, whether or not assembled in modules or made up into panels, LEDs, and mounted piezoelectric crystals, according to Mercom.