Relief for Indian solar producers as government reneges on import duty

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NEW DELHI: India has scrapped a duty on solar modules, making it easier to import the products after a sudden change in customs policy last year led to a logjam of shipments at Indian ports.

Several consignments of solar modules, worth more than $150 million in total, were held up for more than three months at ports after Indian customs’ officials in August demanded that some of them be classified as “electric motors and generators”, carrying a 7.5 percent import duty. Previously they were subject to no duty.

The finance ministry reversed the policy last month, stating in a notice seen by Reuters that most solar modules should revert to their original classification and that no tax should be levied on them.

Indian component makers have struggled to compete with Chinese companies such as Trina Solar and Yingli and have sought anti-dumping duties as well as long-term safeguards.

The change in policy last August led to logjams as it was not immediately clear which modules belonged to the new classification. To ease the situation customs officials agreed to release shipments if importers paid a bank guarantee to cover any duty they may be required to pay.

Source: The Economic Times

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