Chinese solar water heaters a threat to domestic market

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Saturday, December 20, 2014: The Indian solar water heater manufacturing industry, valued at around Rs 10,000 million seems to have got the dark clouds wandering over it, with a threat seen from the China-made imports, as told by the Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI).

The cheaper China-made imports are posing serious threat over the domestic solar water heater manufacturing industry. As per the STFI, the complete stock of solar water heaters that are being imported from China are not just hampering the manufacturing segment but has also affected the product quality that is being delivered to the end users.

China houses the production of major components (tubes), which are used in the production of solar water heaters, and perhaps are not manufactured anywhere in India. Jaideep Malaviya, STFI secretary general said that after the Indian government had removed the subsidy for the solar water heaters, the Chinese government had taken back the export incentive of nearly 17 per cent that Chinese manufacturers were getting. Because of this, the Indian importers had to pay additional import duty. Malaviya had said that the Chinese government had extended the export incentive on complete solar water heater system including the vacuum tubes to tap the flourishing markets like India and thus had developed the separate Harmonised System (HS) code.

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Leading to that, the imported systems have now become cheaper as compared to the domestic products, but at the same time it has also hampered the quality of the product. These inferior products are imposing direct impact on local manufacturers who perhaps won’t be able to match their price rate, thereby might even force them to become dealers of Chinese manufacturers to sustain in the market. The STFI has suggested for an immediate help from Ministry of Finance to develop a separate HS code and also to impose import duty, else India may soon begin to be treated as a dumping ground for these products.

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