Ministry of Finance Issues Notice to Begin Collection of Safeguard Duty

After the Supreme Court put aside all orders against the imposition of the safeguard duty earlier this week, the Ministry of Finance has issued a notice asking the custom authorities to begin collection of the duty.

Five days after the Supreme Court, dismissed the stay order on the imposition of the Safeguard Duty, the Ministry of Finance has now issued a notice asking the custom authorities to resolve all pending and provisional assessments and begin collection of safeguard duty as per the ministry’s order issued on 30th July, 2018.

In the previous notification, the government had levied 25 percent safeguard duty on solar modules and cells imported from China and Malaysia, while exempting developing nations. The new Supreme Court order has implied that the safeguard duty will be levied effective July 30, 2018 after completely dismissing all pending cases in the matter in the Orissa and Madras High Court.

The government has also withdrawn its earlier notification which asked custom officials to not insist on the payment of safeguard duty on solar imports but to make provisional assessments of each shipment, leaving the final decision in the hands of the court.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the duty will be levied as follows:

  • 25 percent ad valorem (according to value in proportion) minus anti-dumping duty payable, if any, when imported during the period from July 30, 2018 to July 29, 2019 (both days inclusive).
  • 20 percent ad valorem minus anti-dumping duty payable, if any, when imported during the period from July 30, 2019 to January 30, 2020 (both days inclusive).
  • 15 percent ad valorem minus anti-dumping duty payable, if any, when imported during the period from January 30, 2020 to July 29, 2020 (both days inclusive).

According to a lawyer who attended the recent hearing at the Supreme Court, informed us that the Ministry of Finance, had moved the apex court seeking relief from the stay order put on the levy of safeguard duty on solar cells and modules by the Orissa High Court. The court had given an interim order and the next hearing is scheduled for October.

The government released the notice going ahead with the interim order issued by the supreme court, which permits for the duty to be levied now, even as the court hears the case.

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