India is getting willy-nilly involved in a trade dispute between the US and China over solar equipment. Local manufacturers complain that Chinese as well as American companies are unloading such equipment on India at prices that amount to dumping, with the active collaboration of their governments.
China's commerce ministry said in a statement on Monday that India may start an anti-dumping probe in a month into imports from companies like Suntech Power Holdings Co of China and First Solar Inc, based in the US.
Bloomberg reported commerce secretary Rahul Khullar declined to comment when reached on his mobile phone.
Indian Local manufacturers are also seeking a 15-per cent tariff on imports of thin-film panels, renewable energy ministry secretary Tarun Kapoor said in a phone interview yesterday, according to the Bloomberg report. The biggest maker of thin-film panels is Arizona-based First Solar, which had signed a deal with Reliance Power to supply 100 MW solar module.
Indian suppliers like Tata BP Solar India Ltd, Indosolar Ltd and Moser Baer India have failed to benefit from the creation of a domestic manufacturing hub with tax concessions. Instead, low-cost Chinese rivals like Suntech and Trina Solar Ltd and US firms backed by preferential trade finance including First Solar have reaped most of the equipment orders for 1,100 MW of capacity aimed at in India by January.
''It's a disaster in the making,'' Bloomberg quoted K Subramanya, chief executive officer of Tata BP Solar, 51-per cent owned by BP Plc and India's third-biggest cell and panel maker. ''I'm feeling a bit of anguish because we want solar to succeed but we need fair competition.''