- Indian government says recommendation of Directorate General of Safeguards to impose safeguard duty on imported solar cells not binding
- It has clarified in the Delhi High Court that there are no plans to impose safeguard duty as of now
- If in the future there is a need to impose such duties, interests of all stakeholders will be taken care of
After months of uncertainty, finally solar power project developers in India can heave a sigh of relief. The Government of India has decided not to levy any safeguard duty on imported solar cells, at least for now.
According to a report in the Indian business newspaper The Economic Times (ET), the Delhi High Court disposed of a petition filed by ACME Solar that challenged the imposition of the safeguard duty. The recommendation of the Directorate General of Safeguards to impose 70% safeguard duty on solar panels coming from China and Malaysia was not binding, explained the government’s counsel in the court while sharing minutes of a meeting of standing committee on safeguards.
ET says the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has confirmed that there will be no duty ‘as of now’. MNRE Secretary Anand Kumar said interests of all stakeholders will be covered if in future there is a need to impose such duties. The case now passes on to the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) that will oversee the investigation, according to Mercom India Research.
An investigation was initiated on imported solar cells in December 2017 leading to uncertainty in the Indian solar industry that depends heavily on imported solar equipment to develop projects.
In April 2018, Madras High Court dismissed a petition by Shapoorji and Pallonji against levy of 70% safeguard duty, paving the way for the duties to be imposed (see Petition Against India’s Safeguard Duty Dismissed). With things changed now, the domestic manufacturing industry will not be at ease.