Orissa HC issues stay till Aug 20 on Safeguard Duty for Solar Imports

The recent recommendation made by the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in his proposal to impose a 25 percent safeguard duty on solar imports (read that report) has created a giant wave across the Indian solar market, which has displeased manufacturers and developers alike.

Just last week, The Director-General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) had recommended a 25% safeguard duty on solar imports from China and Malaysia. According to which the foreign exporters would have to shell out a 25% duty in the first year of business followed by a phased out payment scheme in the second year which went down to 15%. With no duty to be levied on companies from other developing countries, after examination and analysis of submissions by interested parties.

Soon after the proposal by the DGTR was made public, the Solar Power Developers Association (SPDA) wrote a letter citing all their concerns regarding the applicability and treatment on on-going projects, to the commerce ministry. Seeking complete exemption of the duty for the projects currently under development. (read that report)

And now comes another twist to the severely complex discussions of safeguard duty which has the solar industry in a turmoil. The Orissa High Court has issued a stay order to ACME Solar in response to its petition, in which the court has directed the government not to issue any notification regarding Safeguard Duty until August 20, 2018. Although an official order copy is yet to be released by the High Court, a source close to the case confirmed the rumours.

For the proposal, the next step was the meeting of the Standing Committee of Safeguards, with representatives of the government from MNRE, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Commerce, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion, Revenue, Labour and Agriculture who would then forward it with their evaluation to the finance ministry to officially set the recommendation as a law. But with this stay order issued by the Orissa High Court, the board of secretaries will be required to hold back any recommendations to the finance ministry until August 20th.

Solar project developers in the country are not in favour of imposing duties on imported solar components especially from China since it’s where they procure a bulk of their highest quality equipment’s from, whereas domestic manufacturers support an aggressive safeguard duty on imported cells and modules to boost their business.



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