DGTR to Hold Oral Hearing on Anti-Subsidy Investigation of Malaysian Solar Glass Imports
The hearing will be held on July 24, 2020
The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) has announced that the second hearing in the anti-subsidy investigation concerning the import of textured (tempered) glass from Malaysia will take place on July 24, 2020.
This glass is used in solar PV panels and solar thermal applications. The textured glass in consideration here has got a minimum of 90.5% transmission, having a thickness not exceeding 4.2 mm (including tolerance of 0.2 mm). Further, one dimension should exceed 1,500 mm, whether coated or uncoated.
The first oral hearing was held on February 26, 2020. The second hearing will be conducted through a video conference in light of the ongoing pandemic COVID-19.
Earlier, Gujarat Borosil Limited, which claims to be the only solar glass manufacturer in India, had filed an application before the DGTR for the imposition of countervailing duty on imports of textured toughened (tempered) glass from Malaysia.
Gujarat Borosil, in its application, alleged that the producers of tempered glass in Malaysia had benefitted from subsidies provided at various levels by the government of Malaysia and other public bodies. The subsidies consisted of both direct and potential transfer of funds or liabilities.
Gujarat Borosil had furnished information on various parameters related to the adverse impact on the domestic industry caused by the alleged subsidized glass imports from Malaysia.
It was argued that programs like buyer credit guarantee and export credit refinancing offered to the exporters were subsidies since they involve a financial contribution from the governments, including public bodies, to benefit the recipient. They are also alleged to be limited to certain enterprises, products, or regions and therefore are specific and countervailable. The application also claimed that in some cases, these subsidies depend upon the use of domestic over imported goods and upon export performance.
After going through the complaint, DGTR initiated an investigation into the alleged subsidization and the ensuing material harm caused to the domestic market. The investigation will also determine the degree and effect of the subsidies to recommend the amount of countervailing duty.
Borosil Gujarat, in its submission, had said that the items produced by them and the tempered glass imported from Malaysia are alike, with no difference between the two. The two are technically and commercially substitutable and hence should be treated as “like articles” under the rules.
The investigation covers a 12-month period stretching from April 2018 to March 2019, and the injury investigation includes the data for the previous three years.
Domestic solar manufacturers have commented in the past that the Gujarat Borosil has essentially become a monopoly when it comes to solar glass manufacturing by filing petitions for anti-dumping investigations and blocking imports. Smaller manufacturers have claimed that it hurts their business as Borosil’s higher prices prevents them from competing with large module manufacturers.
Last year, the government imposed anti-dumping duty on the import of textured tempered coated and uncoated glass from Malaysia for five years. The investigation had concluded that the domestic industry suffered material injury due to the export of solar glass to India below normal price from Malaysia, leading to an anti-dumping duty imposition for five years to remove injury to the domestic industry. This was preceded by Borosil filing a petition for the imposition of an anti-dumping duty.
Meanwhile, recently, the DGTR conducted an oral hearing where domestic and international industry representatives put forth their views on the continued imposition of safeguard duty on the import of solar cells and modules to India. Representatives from the domestic industry stated that the two-year-long safeguard duty regime was not sufficient and asked the DGTR to extend the duty until 2024.