US and India in WTO solar power dispute

ROW: America claim India
have failed to meet a WTO
solar power ruling
ROW: America claim India have failed to meet a WTO solar power ruling

INDIA has failed to comply with a World Trade Organisation ruling on solar power, the United States will tell the WTO’s dispute settlement body (DSB) this month, trigger­ing a fresh round of litigation, according to an agenda issued on December 20.  

India unveiled its national solar pro­gramme in 2011, seeking to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia’s third-largest economy without creating pollution.  

But the United States complained to the WTO in 2013, saying the programme was discriminatory and US solar exports to In­dia had fallen by 90 per cent from 2011.  

Renewable energy has become a hot area of trade friction as major economies com­pete to dominate a sector that is expected to thrive as reliance on coal and oil dwindles.  

The US won the case last year, when WTO appeals judges ruled India had broken the trade rules by requiring solar power develop­ers to use Indian-made cells and modules.  

Under an agreement with the US, India had until December 14 to comply with the ruling and it told the DSB last week that it had done so.  

“Indian authorities have held extensive internal stakeholder consultations since the adoption of the rulings and recom­mendations of the DSB to fully comply with them,” India said in its statement to the DSB. “Accordingly, in compliance with the findings and recommendations of the DSB in this dispute, India has ceased to impose any measures as found inconsistent in the DSB’s findings and recommendations.”  

But an agenda for the DSB’s next meet­ing on January 12 showed the US plans to raise the dispute again, citing WTO rules on non-compliance with trade rulings.  

If India is found not to have complied, Washington could ask the WTO for per­mission to impose trade sanctions on In­dia, but a legal process is likely to continue for a year or more.