The Hindu republished a Reuters article reporting that last week, in a case brought by the U.S. government, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled against India’s national solar energy program.
As power shortages grow in India, the country’s government plans to create 100,000 megawatts of energy from solar cells and modules and has included incentives to domestic manufacturers to use locally-developed equipment.
According to India’s Livemint e-paper, the WTO ruled that India had discriminated against American manufacturers by providing incentives, which violates WTO agreements. It reported that the WTO dispute settlement panel, in a confidential report to New Delhi and Washington, found India had also violated global trade rules by imposing local content requirements for solar cells and solar modules.
Livemint added, positively: “On Wednesday, Indian government officials maintained that the WTO reverse would not have an impact on the ambitious solar power programme, which is aimed at adding100,000MW of solar power by 2022. Only a small portion of the orders are to be channelled through the subsidy route.
An official said on condition of anonymity, “Of the total 100,000MW planned, 40,000MW is rooftop with the balance being land-based projects. Local content requirement is only for those projects wherein the government provides a subsidy. This is 5,000MW each for rooftop and land-based projects”. Ilana Solomon (below), director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program, commented:
“The WTO needs to get out of the business of hampering climate action in countries around the globe.
“The outdated trade rules on the books now and under negotiation in trade pacts including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership encourage trade in fossil fuels and discourage countries from developing local clean energy capacity. These rules simply do not reflect the urgency of solving the climate crisis and stand in the way of clean energy growth”.
The Indian government is to appeal against the decision to the appellate body, the WTO’s highest court.