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India to allow imports of low-priced Chinese solar cells? Or, is it beaten?

January 23, 2012

As per reports on the Internet, the Government of India has said that it has no objections to companies importing low-priced Chinese solar cells, so long as the cells imported meet the prescribed quality standards!

Oh, well! This is yet another blow to the battling group of the domestic manufacturers. A week before, their plea for seeking imposition of import duty on finished solar equipment was rejected! Is this yet another admission of defeat, this time by the Indian government, at the hands of the hard-working Chinese solar PV manufacturers? Looks like it!

Now, I am not sure what has actually transpired! However, this was very much along the cards and expected! At least, I have seen all of this happen in the Indian telecom and later, electronics industries. Therefore, why should the solar PV industry be any different? Besides, it is a clear indication of the rising might of the Chinese, globally!

Get it clear: as of now, there is no country or manufacturer, that can take the gigantic risks that the Chinese industry is so used to taking, and succeeding, in the long run! Unless the other manufacturers of the world are able to take necessary risks and continue to produce products on par or better than those from China, this story will be repeated, again and again!

Whether the Jawaharlal Nehru-National Solar Mission succeeds in the long run — that remains a major question! However, the fact that remains as of now is: there is no country as strong as China, as far as solar PV is concerned, especially in manufacturing!

The Indian government’s stance is directly opposite to the USA, which has reportedly taken China to the World Trade Organisation over dumping of solar cells and panels.

In fact, today, the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), supported by more than 150 US employers of more than 11,000 workers, applauded an analysis by Hari Chandra Polavarapu, MD of solar and clean-technology research for brokerage firm Auriga USA, that underscores the importance of holding China accountable to international trade law.

Polavarapu’s target is China’s alleged campaign of underwriting development of massive solar manufacturing capacity – without cultivating a significant domestic market – then wielding exports of artificially low-priced product as a “battering ram” to knock down the US solar manufacturing industry.

Polavarapu contends in a series of research and analysis notes that China’s alleged actions against foreign domestic industries not only distort markets but also sap the power of competition to drive efficiency and innovation. Polavarapu characterizes China as a “state sponsor of predatory capitalism and asymmetric warfare” that “does not help in weeding out inefficient players but poisons the profit pool for everyone.”

What a contrast!

Now, I am not the judge, sitting with any decision! We, as a nation decide what is best for us!

In telecom, there are so many overseas makers, when there was room to cultivate local ones, back in the late 1990s. However, that never happened! In components, we tried our best to ‘kill’ the few local manufacturers by reducing import duty to zero. In electronics, we never did try to develop any local industry with earnest. Perhaps, the logic was: the presence of strong global players!

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  1. Shailendra
    January 24, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Good blog Pradeep.. Wish we could do something…

  2. Frieda
    January 24, 2012 at 10:14 am

    It’s possible to find quality coverage at a low price.  But, there are some things you should be aware of to make sure you end up with the right plan.

  3. Satish Kumar
    January 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    The Indian government should focus on their own solar/PV industry/semiconductor industry, which will good for country for a long run, otherwise the Jawaharlal Nehru-National Solar Mission & other missions will disappear and will remains only in books. I think the government should open their eyes and do something better for these industries.

  4. Aijaz Ahmed
    December 3, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Notify further development in solar products import rules.

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