India Confident of Prevailing in Solar Dispute

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By Nayanima Basu

Nov. 27 — The Indian government is confident that it will win the solar panel dispute case against the U.S. at the World Trade Organization and is gearing up to move forward on its solar efforts, a senior government official told Bloomberg BNA.

The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) is expected to release its final report next month.

A WTO panel looking into this dispute reportedly ruled against India in August, stating that it has violated world trading norms due to insistence on local content requirement. The WTO refused to confirm the panel's findings and said the details of a confidential report, which had been sent to the two parties on Aug. 2, would not be made public until later this year (See previous story, 09/03/15).

The U.S. in 2014 filed a WTO complaint alleging that India domestic sourcing requirements violated international trade rules and unfairly discriminated against imported solar cells and modules. The U.S. said India violated the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs).

India has a strong case to take on the U.S. at the WTO, a senior official told BNA. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing an ambitious solar program, known as the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, to raise India's solar power generation capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022 from 4 gigawatts presently.

Diplomatic Ties

“India is basing its confidence on the diplomatic ties,” the official said adding that U.S. officials have assured India of the outcome during the U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) held in September.

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission also came up for discussion during the last bilateral meeting between Modi and President Barack Obama in September, the senior official said.

India is aiming at building a global clout. At the G-20 Summit Nov. 15-16 in Turkey, Modi pushed for a global fund of $100 billion a year for development of clean energy.

“At G20, we can play an effective role in supporting the multilateral goals of increasing research and development to develop affordable renewable energy. We must also ensure finance and technology is available to meet the universal global aspiration for clean energy … We must meet the target of $100-billion goal per year by 2020,” Modi stated at the summit.

Modi may take up the issue again with President Obama Nov. 30 when the leaders meet in Paris for the United Nations climate conference, another government official told Bloomberg BNA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nayanima Basu in New Delhi at correspondents@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerome Ashton at jashton@bna.com