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.
Reuters
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

US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

Governors of several East Coast states close schools, order travel bans, urge people to stay home as snowfall, heavy winds, flooding continue in areas More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8893
JPY
USD
118.31
GBP
USD
0.6660
CAD
USD
1.2459
INR
USD
61.427

Rates may not be current.