US wins WTO dispute against India’s solar rules

  • Agencies, Geneva
  • Updated: Feb 24, 2016 23:12 IST

The United States won a ruling against India at the World Trade Organization on Wednesday after challenging the rules on the origin of solar cells and solar modules used in India’s national solar power programme.

In a statement, the US Trade Representative’s office called the ruling a significant victory that would hasten the spread of solar energy across the world and support clean-energy jobs in the United States.

The United States complained to the WTO in 2013 about the Indian solar programme, which sought to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia’s third-largest economy without creating pollution.

But a requirement that certain cells and modules be made in India fell afoul of WTO rules on discriminating against imports. The United States said its solar exports to India had fallen by 90% from 2011, when India imposed the rules.

The WTO ruling, which can be appealed within 60 days, was repeatedly delayed as the two sides tried to negotiate a settlement. An Indian official had said a compromise might let India subsidise state projects such as defence or railway projects.

Indian officials were not immediately available to comment on the WTO ruling.

But India is likely to appeal against the ruling that has stated that the country’s power purchase agreements with solar firms were “inconsistent” with international norms, reports PTI.

The rulings of the WTO’s dispute settlement panel can be challenged in the WTO’s Appellate body.

The decision to move to the Appellate Body would be taken after consulting the ministry of new and renewable energy, an official source said.

India has about three months time to appeal in the Appellate Body.

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