Anti-dumping duty on solar panels goes

Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said the government has dropped a proposal to impose anti-dumping duty on solar imports.

In fact, the finance ministry had allowed the 22 August deadline for implementing the duties to pass without any public announcement. Sitharaman has now confirmed that the government has no intention of implementing the levies.

The commerce ministry had, in May, under the previous government, recommended tariffs ranging from 11 cents to 81 cents a watt on low-priced solar panels imported from the US, China, Taiwan and Korea.

The dumping duty imposed by India, Asia's third-biggest solar market, would have priced out overseas suppliers such as First Solar Inc and Trina Solar Ltd and raised project costs at a time when the Narendra Modi government is trying to accelerate renewable energy projects.

Indian solar cell makers, including Indosolar Ltd and Websol Energy System Ltd, had sought duty imposts after idling up to  three-quarters of their production, as they were unable to compete against cheaper imports.

The decision to drop the levy comes in the backdrop of US dragging India to the World Trade Organisation, challenging its domestic sourcing norms for the national solar mission.

India, however, holds that its solar mission - which aims to have 20,000 MW solar capacity by 2022 - is compliant with WTO rules (See: India's national solar mission is WTO-compliant: commerce secretary).