An investigation into the alleged dumping of solar PV modules exported to Australia from China has been canned amid findings that the alleged dumping did not have a big impact upon local business.

In its latest announcement, the Anti-Dumping Commission said an investigation had found that imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules or panels from a sample of selected Chinese exporters had been dumped, but that the effect upon local industry was not significant and that the investigation would be terminated as a result.

“The injury, to the Australian industry or the hindrance, to the Australian industry’s establishment, caused by certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules or panels exported to Australia at dumped prices is negligible, therefore, I have decided to terminate the investigation as so far as it relates to China in accordance with subsection 269TDA(13) of the Act,” a statement from Anti-Dumping Commissioner Dale Seymour read.

Widely considered an unfair practice, ‘dumping’ occurs where an exporter sells goods to Australia at a price below the ‘normal value’ of the goods, which is usually determined by the domestic price of goods in the country of export.

Whilst neither illegal nor prohibited under international trade agreements, such practices are considered an undue hindrance to the competitiveness of local industry, and the Trade Minister can undertake a number of actions to discourage such behaviour.

These include countervailing duties on certain products or accepting price undertakings by the exporter in question.

The investigation was bought about last year amid complaints from Tindo, Australia’s only domestic producer of PV modules and panels which supplies the residential and commercial markets from its manufacturing premises in Adelaide.

Operating in a market dominated by imports – predominately from China, which has a market share of 89 percent – Tindo commanded a share of the Australian market that was less than one percent during the period of investigation (Jul 12- Sep 13), the Commissioner said.

In its complaint, Tindo had argued that PV models or panels exported to Australia at prices lower than their normal value had caused material damage to the Australian industry producing PV modules or panels.

In its decision, however, the Commission acknowledged that dumping had occurred with significant ‘dumping margins’ of between 16 and 39 percent, but added that price falls observed during the early part of the investigation period generally subsided during the latter part of the period and that Tindo’s overall sales volumes had increased throughout the period.Solar Pan

Whilst the decision is a setback for Tindo, not everyone was disappointed by the final outcome.

The Clean Energy Council, for example, made a number of submissions on behalf of its members throughout the course of investigation and is happy with the outcome.

“We are very pleased that the investigation has been terminated, removing a significant source of uncertainty that has been hanging over the industry for nearly 18 months,” CEC Policy Manager Darren Gladman is quoted as saying in an article published on the Energy Matters news web site.

“Trade liberalisation is an important issue that has major benefits for local consumers. Dumping duties would make solar power more expensive for Australians, negatively affect sales and inhibit the growth of the Australian industry.”