India will file 16 cases against the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO), as certain US programmes in the renewable energy sector are “inconsistent” with WTO norms, according to a written reply by commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament.
The minister said India believes some renewable energy programmes of the US at the sub-federal level are inconsistent with WTO provisions, particularly with respect to the obligation under GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade) 1994, Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and/or TRIMS (Trade-Related Investment Measures) Agreement. The US had won a ruling against India at the WTO in February after challenging the rules on the origin of solar cells and solar modules used in India’s national solar power programme. Such a move prompted India to point at violations of some of the WTO provisions by the US in the latter’s own renewable energy sector.
In a separate reply, Sitharaman said India has already appealed before the WTO appellate body on the findings and recommendations of the dispute settlement panel.
Recently, India also dragged the US to the WTO on the latter’s move to drastically hike the H-1B and L-1 visa charges, which is estimated to raise the Indian IT industry’s annual visa costs by four fold to $400 million. India and the US are holding a two-day bilateral consultation, starting Wednesday, at the WTO for this purpose.