Chinese dumping of solar panels into Australia judged negligible

PV solar panels from Lightsource Renewable Energy

Australia’s Anti-Dumping Commission has ruled that several Chinese companies have dumped solar modules and panels into Australia, but that such dumping has had a negligible effect on Australia’s economy.

What is ‘dumping’?

In the world of international trade, ‘dumping’ refers to the practice of flooding countries with imports of products that are cheaper to buy than those made domestically.

It is considered detrimental to local industries, as the cheaper imports undercut the products made by those industries.

Anti-poverty group Oxfam has long campaigned against the practice of developing countries having cheap imports dumped into them.

One method of combating dumping’s negative effects is to introduce tariffs on imported goods, thereby causing the prices of those goods to be equal or higher than those produced domestically.

Anti-Dumping Commission ruling on Chinese solar

However, Australia’s Anti-Dumping Commission does not believe Australian industry has been negatively affected by the Chinese dumping of solar power products.

In 2014 South Australian solar panel manufacturer Tindo Solar lodged an application requesting the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister for Industry and Science publish a dumping duty notice in relation to photovoltaic (PV) modules or panels imported from China.

A “dumping duty notice” is a notice from the Minister that calls for import duties to be introduced on particular dumped goods.

In its 64-page report, released last Tuesday, the Anti-Dumping Commission found that: “PV modules or panels exported from China during the period 1 July 2012 to 31 December 2013 (the investigation period) were exported at dumped prices… but the injury to the Australian industry or the hindrance to the establishment of an Australian injury that has been, or may be, caused by those exports is negligible.”

The report says that, “while the Commission has found sufficient grounds to establish that Tindo has experienced some price depression during the investigation period, as well as declines in profit and profitability,” Tindo mainly sells AC photovoltaic modules or panels that are more expensive than the Chinese DC ones.

The report says that, while Tindo can manufacture and sell DC photovoltaic modules or panels, the company’s “marketing and business plan are clearly directed towards AC PV modules or panels.”

“Tindo automatically quotes a price for AC PV modules or panels unless specifically requested to quote for DC PV modules or panels.”

The report says that, “the Commission is not satisfied that” the dumping prevented Tindo’s ability to reduce the prices of its AC PV modules to levels needed to compete with the Chinese imports “even after allowing for the premium that would be expected for an AC model over a DC model.”

“Even in the absence of dumping the price offers of the imported goods from China would provide a significant competitive advantage to importers,” the report says.

The Anti-Dumpin Commission’s report claims Tindo Solar Pty. Ltd. is Australia’s only manufacturer of solar panels.

However, there is a company called Australian Solar Manufacturing Pty. Ltd., which also manufactures solar panels.