WTO: India hopes to resolve solar duty issue with Malaysia
NEW DELHI: India is looking to amicably sort out the issue of safeguard duties on solar cell imports from Malaysia.
Malaysia has sought WTO consultations with India on safeguard duties — a penal duty imposed to check steep increase in imports of an item. New Delhi had imposed safeguard duties on solar cells imported from that country and also from China.
“The safeguard duties were calculated with due diligence and adequate care was taken to establish that all WTO provisions were strictly adhered to. It will not be difficult to establish India’s case in any consultations on the matter,” a government official told BusinessLine.
The WTO allows the imposition of safeguard duties if a country can prove that there has been a flooding of a particular item from a WTO-member country which has caused substantial injury to the domestic industry.
As per a notification issued by the Indian government in July, a levy of 25 per cent (ad valorem minus anti-dumping duty, if payable) was imposed for imports in the first year starting July 30, and 20 per cent and 15 per cent for two subsequent six-month periods, respectively.
Malaysia may have initiated the WTO consultation with India as its exports of solar cells to India are much lower than China’s exports which contribute to more than 85 per cent of the country’s total imports of the item. However, according to calculations made by India, Malaysia does not qualify for an exemption as its exports contribute to more than 3 per cent of India’s total imports.
Exemption from levy
“Only countries that contribute to less than 3 per cent of total imports of the product individually are exempt. That is why the safeguard duties were not imposed on Taiwan and Singapore which export smaller quantities of solar cells,” the official explained.
As per government figures, import of solar cells rose to 9,790 MW in 2017-18 from 1,275 MW in 2014-15.