India to raise Solar Mission issue at WTO

Business & Politics

News - Biz@India

April 20, 2016

/ By / New Delhi


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India will raise the issue of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling against the Indian Domestic Solar Mission.

This was announced by India’s Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, on Tuesday, at a press conference on the eve of his departure for New York for the signing of Paris Climate Change Agreement.

“We are giving space to our local manufacturers here and the ruling would affect them. We would take it up”, he said.

However, he pointed out that his cabinet colleague Nirmala Sitharaman, who heads the Ministry of commerce and industry, will be the one who would decide and take the final call on the WTO issue.

In February this year, Geneva based World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel has struck a blow to ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission’ – India’s solar power programme, ruling that New Delhi violated global trade rules by imposing domestic content restrictions on the production of solar cells and modules as part of its National Solar Mission.

The ruling came on a 2013 complaint filed by the US against India at the WTO, complaining that its domestic content requirement (DCR) measures violated core norms of trade-related investment provisions, national treatment provisions for treating imported products on a par with domestically manufactured products, and financial subsidy rules.

The three-member panel, chaired by former New Zealand trade envoy David Walker, said India’s domestic content requirement measures “are inconsistent with Article 2.1 of the TRIMS (Trade-Related Investment Measures) and Article III:4 of the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) 1994”.

Meet Climate Change commitments

However, India also argued that its solar programme was helping it to meet its commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was launched on the January 11, 2010 by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

It is considered one of the world’s largest and fastest renewable energy programmes.

The Mission, which has set the ambitious target of deploying 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022, is aimed at reducing the cost of solar power generation in the country through long term policy; large scale deployment goals; aggressive R&D; and domestic production of critical raw materials, components and products. Consequently, it aims to achieve grid tariff parity by 2022. Mission will create an enabling policy framework to achieve this objective and make India a global leader in solar energy.

Interestingly, China, which is eyeing the Indian solar market, had extended its support to New Delhi against the WTO ruling.



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