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India drops solar anti-dumping plan; move before Modi - Obama meet


New Delhi (10th Sept, 2014): India has dropped plans to impose an anti-dumping duty on solar panel imports, a move that is likely to help mend frayed commercial ties with the United States before Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets President Barack Obama this month.

Days before Modi took office in May, a quasi-judicial body ordered the imposition of the duty on panels imported from the United States, China, Taiwan and Malaysia to protect domestic solar manufacturers.

The order issued had set duties of between 11 and 81 U.S. cents per watt following a investigation which started in 2011. The ruling had to be published by the Finance Ministry within a stipulated time frame to take effect.

"There was no notification. We allowed it to lapse," Nirmala Sitharaman, the trade and junior minister for finance, said, without elaborating.

India and the United States set great store by the economic potential of their ties, but their relationship has been fraught in recent years over trade policies and patents.

The move over solar panels comes two days after the Modi administration said it was trying to speed up clearances for all pending patent applications and working on an intellectual property rights (IPR) policy - seen by analysts as another step towards smooth things over with Washington.

Dropping the duty removes one sticking point ahead of Modi's meeting Obama in Washington on Sept. 29-30, but it will upset Indian manufacturers who say rivals benefit from subsidies and sell their products at artificially low prices.


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