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'Threatened' U.S. again challenges India's solar manufacturing industry


The United States has again challenged India's solar manufacturing industry at the World Trade Organisation.

The US' move comes angered by the continued support that India is offering to its domestic solar manufacturers under its national solar mission.

According to the Huffington Post, India's national solar programme was launched in January 2010 and aims to bring 20,000 megawatts of solar power to India by 2022.

The programme has driven dramatic growth-India has grown its solar capacity from nearly nothing to more than 2,000 megawatts.

India's first goal under Phase II is to bring an additional 750 megawatts of solar energy online.

To do that, the Indian Government is administering a bidding process that, in part due to the promise of approximately 306 million dollars in funding support, has so far attracted applications from 68 investors across the world, the report said.

According to the report, in order to boost Indian solar manufacturing, India is requiring that half of that solar capacity, 375 megawatts, be built with solar cells and modules that are made in India.

The other 50 percent of the capacity can use modules sourced from anywhere in the world, including the United States.

In sum, this project will also provide domestic companies reeling from the troubles the coal sector has experienced a profitable way to diversify and reduce climate-disrupting pollution, the report said.

Seems like a programme that the U.S. should be supporting, well, not according to the United States Trade Representative.

Like its first compliant, the United States claims that the 'buy local' portion of India's programme discriminate against U.S. solar exports, the report said.

Also, the United States claimed that India has violated WTO rules under the Article III:4 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and Article 2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS) by allegedly providing more favourable treatment to domestic solar producers and products than to foreign ones, the report added.

According to the report, given the dire costs of the climate crisis that both the United States and the WTO have acknowledged, it is imperative that all governments have the ability to develop the renewable energy industries necessary to fight climate disruption.

India's programme strives to establish India as a leader in solar energy. Its efforts should be supported. Neither the United States nor international trade rules should stand in the way, the report concluded.

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First Published: Thu, February 20 2014. 12:14 IST