US Claims Victory Against India In WTO Solar Panel Dispute

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WASHINGTON – The US on Friday claimed victory over India at the WTO wherein
it had challenged the local content requirement in solar panels by the Indian
government, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reports.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman said the World Trade
Organisation (WTO) Appellate Body has issued a report finding in favour of the
Obama Administration’s challenge to India’s “domestic content requirements”
under its National Solar Mission.

Since India enacted these requirements in 2011, which requires solar power
developers to use Indian-manufactured cells and modules, American solar exports
to India have fallen by more than 90 per cent, he said.

The Appellate Body affirmed an earlier WTO panel report agreeing with the
US that India’s domestic content “requirements discriminated against”
American-made and other imported solar products, in breach of international
trade rules.

The decisive finding rejected all of India’s defensive arguments, USTR said.

“This report is a clear victory for American solar manufacturers and
workers, and another step forward in the fight against climate change,” Froman

The Obama administration, he said, strongly support rapid deployment of
solar energy worldwide, including in India.

“But local content requirements are not only contrary to WTO rules, but
actually undermine our efforts to promote clean energy by requiring the use of
more expensive and less efficient equipment, making it more difficult for clean
energy sources to be cost-competitive,” Froman alleged.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in a statement welcomed
WTO’s rejection of India’s appeal and urged the Indian government to move
quickly to dismantle its discriminatory domestic content requirements that have
blocked access for US solar cell modules.

“As each and every previous ruling in this case has shown, India’s domestic
content requirements are a clear violation of core WTO rules and today’s victory
will give an important boost to US manufacturing,” NAM said.

“This decision also demonstrates why the strong rules-based WTO system and
trade agreements with binding and strong enforcement rules are critical to open
markets and eliminate unfair barriers overseas,” it said.

Earlier in February this year, USTR said the WTO panel found in favour of
the US in a dispute challenging India’s “localization” rules discriminating
against imported solar cells and modules under India’s National Solar Mission.