Australian Solar Panel Dumping Investigation (Re)Awakens

Solar pane dumping - AustraliaForeground Image: BigStock

It’s on – again. Australia’s Commissioner of the Anti-Dumping Commission has announced a previously terminated investigation into the alleged dumping of solar panels from China in Australia will resume.

Dumping is said to have occurred when goods are exported to Australia at a price below the ‘normal value’ of those items; i.e. the value usually being the domestic price of the goods in the country of export. It’s a situation that may be remedied by the imposition anti-dumping tariffs and countervailing duties.

Back in 2013, Australia’s only solar panel manufacturer called on the Australian government to launch an anti-dumping investigation. Then in February 2014, the manufacturer lodged an application requesting a dumping duty notice for certain PV module exported to Australia from China.

The Commissioner initiated an investigation on 14 May 2014.

In April 2015, the Commissioner announced he had determined some panels were exported at dumped prices. However, he also determined the injury to the Australian industry – which at the time consisted of the single solar panel manufacturer – caused by those exports was minor. The Commissioner recommended terminating the investigation.

On October 7, 2015, the Commissioner announced the investigation had been terminated; a result that was applauded by much of Australia’s solar industry.

The Clean Energy Council, which made several submissions during the investigation, welcomed the decision.

“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,” said CEC Policy Manager, Darren Gladman at the time.

The drawn-out and expensive investigation should have been dead and buried at that point; but there was more to come.

The Australian manufacturer lodged an application with the Anti-Dumping Review Panel in November 2015, appealing the termination decision. Last week, the Panel revoked the Commissioner’s termination decision. Its reasons for doing so are published here (PDF).

The investigation will be resumed after the publication of a new Statement of Essential Facts (SEF).

“Interested parties will have 20 days within which to make submissions in response to the SEF and I will then have a further 25 days to provide a report to the Assistant Minister for Science and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science with my recommendation on whether to publish a dumping duty notice,” says part of a statement from the Commissioner, Dale Seymour.

The date of the publication of the SEF is yet to be determined.