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Sat12202014

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U.S. challenges India’s solar scheme restriction at W.T.O.

U.S. challenges India’s solar scheme restriction at W.T.O.
The U.S. has engaged India in its concerns about the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission over the last three years

The United States has filed dispute settlement consultations at the World Trade Organization, questioning elements in India’s national solar program that purportedly discriminate the U.S. solar products.

India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission requires solar energy producers to use homegrown solar cells and modules, and offers subsidies to those developers for using domestic equipment instead of imports.

According to the U.S. Trade representative Ron Kirk, these force localization requirements of the program restrict India’s market from the U.S. imports, as well as violate a core global trade rule.

“Let me be clear: the United States strongly supports the rapid deployment of solar energy around the world, including India. Unfortunately, India’s discriminatory policies in its national solar program detract from that successful cooperation, raise the cost of clean energy, and undermine progress toward our shared objective,” he stressed in an official statement.

Mr. Kirk also said some terms of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, launched in 2010, seem to be inconsistent with the country’s commitments under the W.T.O., including the prohibition of measures that discriminate in favor of domestically produced goods versus imports, and prohibition of conditioning a subsidy on the use of domestic over imported goods.

Supporting the announcement of the request for consultations with India, Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade group in the U.S, said “the use of discriminatory localization barriers to bolster domestic interests is a growing trend within the global solar industry which must be reversed.”

“We are hopeful that today’s action by the U.S. government will encourage not only India but other countries contemplating the imposition of localization barriers to focus instead on WTO-consistent government support measures. And we encourage all nations interested in the advancement of solar energy to join together in the development of mutually-beneficial policy mechanisms,” it added.

The U.S. also had a solar trade dispute with China, imposing high tariffs on solar cells and modules from the latter. This is in response with what has been claimed that China’s subsidies are “unfair,” favoring its local solar manufacturers.

China protested against the punitive tariffs but did not bring it up at the W.T.O. – EcoSeed Staff



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