Solar Trade: US’ Double Standards Hurt India

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India has accused the US of maintaining double standards in solar trade. Indian Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal, currently in New York, has said that America’s recent victory against India’s move to promoting its domestic solar energy players at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is unfortunate, as the US itself protects its own states.

The visiting minister said that 16 American states have ‘Domestic Content Requirements’, which help them meet their energy needs through solar panels. “It is very unfortunate that the US on one side continues to have their own Domestic Content Requirement and purchase of solar equipment giving preference to domestic manufacturers and on the other hand, chooses to go against the developing world,” stressed the minister.

Goyal strongly criticised the Barrack Obama administration for not imposing anti-dumping duties on American manufacturers even after winning the right to do so in a recent ruling. He was of the opinion that “the US should have reciprocated with a similar gesture” especially when the American manufacturers showed magnanimity. The Indian minister further advised America to allow the developing nations to promote the use of renewable energy, instead of putting their domestic solar energy players under pressure.

Meanwhile, Goyal made clear that the recent WTO ruling could not stop India from supporting its domestic manufacturers. He hinted that the Narendra Modi government in New Delhi would come out with a new policy in order to encourage further domestic manufacturing in India. The minister assured the international community that India is fully committed to becoming a leading solar equipment manufacturer in the near future.

India, which filed an appeal against the WTO decision on April 20, is awaiting the final decision of the Appellate Authority – the highest WTO court. If the Appellate Authority cancels its lower panel ruling that denied the Indian government’s local content requirements for solar cells and modules, then it will be a huge victory for the South Asian country. Also, India plans to file at least 16 cases against the US for violating WTO policies at the UN.

David King, the Special Representative (on Climate Change) of British Foreign Secretary Rt Hon Philip Hammond, said that a low-carbon global economy is inevitable. In an article published in an Indian national daily on April 23, King wrote that “renewable energy is the biggest opportunity of our age, both for the private sector and the scientific community”. He also appreciated Prime Minister Modi’s leadership on renewables, saying that the PM has given India the chance to boost its renewable energy generating capacity and provide energy access to millions. During his recent visit to London, Goyal got assurance from the David Cameron government that Britain would co-operate with India in tackling climate change. However, the US, commonly known as a friend of Britain, has a different idea. Despite protecting its own states, America is opposing the developing nations’ move to promote their domestic solar energy players. India, like other developing countries, believes that the US is actually not interested in protecting the Earth.

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