Commerce Ministry Urges Chinese Firm to Form Joint Venture for Accelerated Localization of Solar Panels


In a recent inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Rashid Mahmood Langrial, Additional Secretary Incharge of the Ministry of Industries and Production, the Commerce Ministry has encouraged M/s Sinotec Solar (Pvt) Ltd, a Chinese company, to consider establishing a joint venture (JV) with M/s Ghani Glass to expedite the localization of solar panel-related items.

Langrial reviewed the progress made since the last meeting on February 26, 2024, emphasizing the need to address tariff and tax anomalies faced by the local solar industry. While he advocated for the removal of such barriers, he cautioned against imposing higher duties on imported solar panels to avoid making them unaffordable for the public.

Muhammad Ashfaq from the Ministry of Commerce’s Tariff Division explained the import quota system and projected a revenue forgone of Rs20 billion due to zero-rated duties and taxes on raw materials and machinery. Aftab Ullah Shah, Secretary Tariff at FBR, endorsed this analysis and highlighted the requirement for companies to provide detailed information on their imports, inventory, local manufacturing, sales, and exports.

Sinotec Solar presented a conditional indigenization plan focusing on six items involved in local panel manufacturing. However, the chair expressed skepticism regarding the practicality of their conditions and suggested exploring a JV with Ghani Glass to promote technology transfer and local value addition.

Following deliberations, the meeting decided on several actions, including the preparation of a task matrix by EDB, tariff and tax analysis by the Ministry of Commerce for the next 10 years, and a comprehensive, unconditional indigenization plan from Sinotec Solar backed by consultation with Ghani Glass and technical evaluation by EDB.

Story by Mushtaq Ghumman

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