News / Economy

US Launches New Trade Action Against India Over Solar Program

FILE - Indian workers add finishing touches to installed solar panels covering the Narmada canal at Chandrasan village, about 40 kilometers from Ahmadabad, India, April 22, 2012.
FILE - Indian workers add finishing touches to installed solar panels covering the Narmada canal at Chandrasan village, about 40 kilometers from Ahmadabad, India, April 22, 2012.
The United States on Monday said it would take India to the World Trade Organization to gain a bigger foothold for U.S. manufacturers in its fast-growing solar products market, adding another irritant to an already strained relationship.
The Obama administration said it was filing its second case at the WTO over the domestic content requirements in India's massive solar program, which aims to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia's third-largest economy.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said making Indian solar developers use locally made equipment discriminated against U.S. producers and could hinder the spread of solar power.
“Domestic content requirements detract from successful cooperation on clean energy and actually impede India's deployment of solar energy by raising its cost,” Froman said.
It is the second time in a year that Washington has sought a consultation at the WTO - the first stage in a dispute process that can lead to sanctions - over India's Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.
The ongoing trade spat between the two allies follows the recent arrest and strip search of a female Indian diplomat in New York in connection with visa fraud charges.
The arrest sparked fury in India, prompted retaliatory measures against U.S. diplomats there and plunged U.S.-India relations to their lowest point since India tested a nuclear device in 1998.
The USTR issued its first challenge to India's solar program last February when it formally requested consultations over its first stage. The program aims to double India's renewable energy capacity by 2017.
U.S. officials had hoped a second phase of the program would address Washington's concerns, but now fear the harm to American producers would likely be even greater because the rules were expanded in October to cover so-called thin film technology that comprises the majority of U.S. solar product exports to India.
India hit back at the initial U.S. accusations in April, asking Washington to justify its own incentives offered to U.S. companies that use local labor and products in renewable energy and water projects. The Indian embassy in Washington was not immediately available for comment on the latest trade action.
India has argued its solar policies are legal under WTO government procurement rules that permit countries to exempt projects from non-discrimination obligations.
Years in the Making

Froman said the action did not undermine the value that the United States placed on its relationship with India, saying: “Today's action addresses a specific issue of concern and in no way detracts from the importance we attach to this relationship.”

Attorneys for the USTR said later such cases took months to prepare.
U.S. solar trade groups cheered the move and said the United States had been patient in its discussions with India.
“The U.S. government spent two years talking with India trying to encourage them to move away from the local content requirement before initiating the first action roughly a year ago,” said John Smirnow, vice president of trade and competitiveness for the Solar Energy Industries Association.
“We are almost three years in the making of the U.S. trying to get India to move back from this local content requirement,” he added.
U.S. environmental groups have urged the Obama administration to back off any WTO action, arguing that building up India's solar power industry will help it cut high greenhouse gas emissions.
But the administration has come under growing pressure from lawmakers and business groups to take a tougher stance on perceived Indian protectionist measures and intellectual property rights abuses by Indian drug companies.
India is widely perceived in Washington as a serial trade offender, with U.S. companies unhappy about imports of everything from shrimp to steel pipes they say threaten jobs.
The U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to hold a hearing into complaints of trade barriers erected by India on Wednesday and Thursday.
There are 14 past or current World Trade Organization cases between India and the United States, whose bilateral trade in goods measured $63.7 billion last year, not including the latest case.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Dinesh Dutta from: Mumbai
February 10, 2014 9:26 PM
Why should we buy Solar Panels from the US when we can produce the product in our own country? India should reject such moves of US and stand firm boldly.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies


Rates may not be current.