Taiwan takes India to WTO over solar cell tariff

Taiwan to enter into talks with India over 25% tariff on Chinese solar cell imports

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Solar cells. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

Solar cells. (Image courtesy of Pixabay)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan has initiated a consultation process under the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Agreement on Safeguards due to India's 25 percent import tax on solar cells, the WTO said in a statement.

The consultations are just that, and are separate from a formal dispute resolution process, reports say.

The WTO Agreement on Safeguards is a rule set for emergency measures a government can take, if an increase in imports of a product threatens or causes serious injury to an industry, according to the WTO.

India announced a 25 percent tariff on imports from China and Malaysia for a period of two years on July 30, in a bid to safeguard the local industry from strong international competition. The rollout of the tariff was put on hold on Aug. 13.

Quartz India reported that approximated 90 percent of solar panels currently installed in India are made in China and Malaysia, and Bloomberg reported that India is the largest buyer of Chinese solar cells, occupying 31 percent of total Chinese exports in 2017.

Taiwan says it has significant interests in Chinese-manufactured solar cells, and is home to some of the world's biggest companies including DelSolar (旺能光電), Motech (茂迪), and Neo Solar Power (新日光能源).

The goal of the consultation is to "exchange views on the proposed measures and reaching an understanding on ways to achieve the objectives" of the WTO Agreement on Safeguards, the WTO said.

Taiwan wants to enter into talks "as soon as possible and looks forward to India's positive response to this request," the WTO said.

Malaysia has already sought for consultations with India under the Agreement on Safeguards, the Economic Times of India reported on Aug. 30.