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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8033
JPY
USD
117.19
GBP
USD
0.6372
CAD
USD
1.1634
INR
USD
63.622

Rates may not be current.