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WTO ruling on solar power: India to raise issue at UN event

The ruling was a blow to India which has announced a target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, of which 100 GW will be realised through the National Solar Mission

Solar Power
The solar power tenders continued to gather pace in May as state-owned NTPC and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) bid out a total of 750 MW in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana under the national solar mission this week. (Reuters)
Solar Power
WTO had recently said the government’s power purchase agreements with solar firms were “inconsistent” with international norms. (Reuters)

 

India today termed as “unfortunate” the recent WTO ruling which held the Centre’s power purchase agreements with solar firms as “inconsistent” with international norms and said it will raise the issue during a high-level UN event this week.

“It is unfortunate that when India has launched such a big renewable programme, very small portion of it is in a way reserved for India’s small entrepreneurs.

“We will definitely flag this issue because this shows that the way we are going green. The developed world should not have objections on such a small thing,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

During a recent meeting of BASIC countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China – held in New Delhi, China had come out in support of India’s decision to file an appeal against the WTO ruling.

Javadekar will sign the Paris Agreement on behalf of India on April 22 at a high-level signature ceremony convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He will also attend the Major Economic Forum meeting on April 23-24.

Ruling against India, the World Trade Organization (WTO) had recently said the government’s power purchase agreements with solar firms were “inconsistent” with international norms — a matter in which the US had filed a complaint before the global trade body alleging discrimination against American firms.

The US had dragged India to WTO on this issue in 2014, alleging the clause relating to Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) in the country’s solar power mission were discriminatory in nature and “nullified” the benefits accruing to American solar power developers.

After looking into the matter, the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Panel had ruled that “the DCR measures are inconsistent” with relevant provisions of TRIMs (Trade Related Investment Measures) Agreement and with the articles of the erstwhile GATT (General Agreement of Trade and Tariffs).

The ruling was a blow to India which has announced a target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, of which 100 GW will be realised through the National Solar Mission.

Supporting India’s decision to challenge the WTO ruling, Greenpeace also had earlier said the ruling “violates” the spirit of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

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