Indian response to US charges on solar policy in 10 days

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SummaryIndia will respond within 10 days to WTO on US complaint that alleges discrimination by New Delhi's national solar mission against American products.

India will respond within 10 days to WTO on US complaint that alleges discrimination by New Delhi's national solar mission against American products.

"...the US has sought a consultation in respect to domestic content policy of National Solar Mission. According to the laid-down procedure, India has to respond within 10 days. We have received the notice and will respond within the prescribed time period," Additional Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Rajeev Kher said in a statement.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) has alleged that India's programme appears to discriminate against US solar equipment by requiring solar energy producers to use locally manufactured cells and by offering subsidies to those developers who use domestic equipment.

It is also alleged that forced localisation requirements restrict US exports to India markets.

On January 11, 2010, India launched its national solar policy-- the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

Meanwhile, Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy said: "We don't want to go against the WTO... We think that we have not violated the WTO norms."

According to him, the issue raised by the US relates to only about 350 MW of solar capacity in the national solar mission.

"We already have installed about 1,200 MW. About 1,000 MW is in the pipeline and around 2,000 MW is under tendering," he noted.

Kapoor also said that the maximum orders have gone to the US companies during the award of last two batches under the solar mission.

The solar issue is the latest in the list of disputes between India and the US in the WTO.

Last year, the US has dragged India to the WTO over New Delhi's ban on imports of American poultry products.

India has also lodged a complaint against the US on the issue import duties imposed on Indian steel products by the US.

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