WTO’s dispute panel looking to resolve the India-US solar ties

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Solar-thermal technologyFebruary 2, 2015: The ongoing concerns with regards to India’s solar power programme take a step further as the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) dispute settlement panel has decided to meet in Geneva next week to discuss the complaint filed by the US against India’s requirement of domestic materials for solar power generation. The US had filed a complaint to the WTO in February last year alleging that India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission discriminates the solar products manufactured by the US. This is essentially because, according to the national solar mission, India is supposed to manufacture each and every part of its solar power products in the country itself.

As per the mission, India has an ambitious target of producing 20,000MW of solar power by 2022. So when the mission was launched in January 2010, there were rising sentiments within the US companies as they saw a potential market for selling its solar equipments to India. But when the mandate of using only the Indian made equipments came into the scene, it hurt the US as they considered this as a kind of discrimination towards the kind of solar equipments that they manufacture.

Bilateral consultations regarding the matter have already taken place as it is considered to be the first step to be followed for any complaint filed with the global trade body. The chance of consultations is given to both the parties concerned so that the dispute can be resolved without any further requirement of litigations. But since the countries have not been able to find a solution to the dispute yet, the panel discussion would be the next step taken by WTO.

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The dispute seems to have widened a bit in the recent past with Narendra Modi’s campaign encouraging local produce in an even greater way and on the other hand, John Kerry, US secretary of state, expressing his worries regarding the matter. What needs to be seen is the outcome of the panel meeting in Geneva next week.

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