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WTO sets up panel to examine US-India solar power dispute

LiveMint logoLiveMint 26-05-2014 Asit Ranjan Mishra

New Delhi: The commerce ministry under Nirmala Sitharaman of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has to fight a new trade battle at World Trade Organisation (WTO), which has set up a dispute settlement panel to examine a complaint by the US against India’s domestic content requirements under the country’s solar power programme.

In a meting of the dispute settlement body on 23 May, the global agency decided to set up the panel after the US complained for the second time. “Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Norway and Turkey reserved their third-party right to participate in the panel’s proceedings,” WTO said in a statement.

India has an ambitious target of generating 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022.

The US is especially keen on taking a slice of this market against backdrop of US President Barack Obama’s aim of doubling US exports by 2015. The US has been complaining about India’s domestic content requirements under its solar energy programme known as the National Solar Mission (NSM), and had approached the WTO against India’s policy.

India had blocked the first request by the US to set up a dispute settlement panel after negotiations failed between the two countries. But under the current WTO rules, the trade body is obliged to set up the panel if a request is made a second time.

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