The Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) investigation into the alleged dumping of solar PV modules exported from China will continue in 2016, following a review of the decision to terminate the investigation.
The nearly 18-month-long investigation was terminated in October 2015, but the decision to terminate has been under review since November following an application from Tindo Manufacturing.
Today, the Anti-Dumping Review Panel (ADRP) announced that it has revoked the Anti-Dumping Commissioner’s decision, meaning the investigation will be reopened.
The ADRP’s decision was welcomed by Tindo, Australia’s only solar PV panel manufacturer, which argued that the ADC’s decision was based on a flawed analysis of both Tindo’s products and the Australian solar market.
Adrian Ferraretto, Managing Director of Tindo Solar, said: “Tindo is pleased that the ADRP has decided to reopen the AD case. Tindo will cooperate with the AD Commission and will continue to work towards expanding Australian renewable energy advanced manufacturing jobs.”
However, Clean Energy Council Policy Manager Darren Gladman warned that reopening the investigation also revives the prospect of import duties on solar panels.
“Last year the Anti-Dumping Commission found that some PV panels from China were exported at dumped prices but the injury to the Australian industry caused by those exports is negligible. On that basis the Commissioner recommended termination of the investigation,” Mr Gladman said.
“Imposing duties on solar panel imports would drive up costs for Australian consumers and for large-scale solar projects.”
While most of the arguments mounted in Tindo’s appeal were rejected by the ADRP, several of them were upheld at least in part. In her report on the review, ADRP Acting Senior Member Joan Fitzhenry said she did not think the ADC had carried out sufficient analysis to support all of its findings.
“The conclusion based on the pricing analysis simply assumes that because there would still be a price advantage with the dumped exports, any injury from those exports must have been negligible,” the report said.
“I am not satisfied that there can be such a conclusion, at least without more analysis.”
RoofJuice CEO Nigel Morris said that Tindo was right to appeal the commission’s investigation, describing it as overly simplistic and “factually incorrect in several key issues”.
However, he added that he thought any new investigation would only be a further waste of time and money.
“Despite being a supporter of any Australian PV manufacturer, I have doubts as to whether the outcome will be any different given that Tindo is the only potential defendant. The language may end up being different but the political pressure to open up import freedom is as strong as ever, so I doubt the outcome will change.
“Moreover, the cost of the investigation to the solar industry so far can be counted in the millions of dollars and has affected small and large companies. Personally, I don’t see how forcing another round of investigation and cost on our industry helps the greater cause and to the contrary, with retail sales it could have serious consequences for smaller companies who get caught up again.”
The anti-dumping investigation was initially launched in May 2014 to address claims that the Australian market was being flooded with cheap Chinese PV panels that were hurting the Australian industry.
In 2015, Mr Ferraretto called for a level playing field in the industry, saying Tindo would be employing “hundreds more Australians” if it were not for the alleged dumping of Chinese panels into the market.