SOLAR ISSUE

India threatens to drag US to WTO, China shows support

India-solar-wto India will move WTO against US for allegedly blocking its national solar mission | Reuters
  • The U.S. had dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the issue in 2014, alleging that the clause relating to domestic content requirement (DCR) in the country’s solar power mission was discriminatory in nature.

India will appeal against WTO panel’s ruling that the country’s power purchase agreements with solar firms were “inconsistent” with international norms, in the next few days.

Terming the WTO ruling "unfortunate", Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said India would also raise the issue during a high-level United Nations (UN) event this week.

The February ruling came in the wake of a U.S. complaint before the global trade body alleging discrimination against American firms.

“Next few days,” said Power Minister Piyush Goyal when asked by when the country will be appealing against the decision.

Rulings of the dispute settlement panel can be challenged at the WTO’s appellate body.

“We have found some 16 programmes in the United States where states are giving support to their domestic manufacturers,” he said while talking to PTI on the sidelines of an event hosted by CII here.

He was of the view that this would support India’s case.

The U.S. had dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the issue in 2014, alleging that the clause relating to domestic content requirement (DCR) in the country’s solar power mission was discriminatory in nature and “nullified” the benefits accruing to American solar power developers.

This was the second case where India has lost against the U.S. at WTO. In June 2015, India lost a case when WTO ruled that the Indian ban on import of poultry meat, eggs and live pigs from the U.S. was inconsistent with the global norms.

The appellate body is a standing entity of seven persons that hears appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought forward by WTO members. The body can uphold, modify or reverse legal findings and conclusions. Its reports, once adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body, must be accepted by the parties to the dispute.

"We will definitely flag this issue because this shows that the way we are going green. The developed world should not have objections on such a small thing," Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

During a recent meeting of BASIC countries—Brazil, South Africa, India and China—held in New Delhi, China had come out in support of India's decision to file an appeal against the WTO ruling.

Javadekar will sign the Paris Agreement on behalf of India on April 22 at a high-level signature ceremony convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He will also attend the Major Economic Forum meeting on April 23-24.

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