News Solar Mission: India Rejects U.S. Allegation On Discrimination   Email this page
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New Delhi: State’s first rooftop solar project generates 1.2 mn units in 6 monthsGujarat's first solar rooftop project generates 1.2 million units in six months.
Dismissing U.S. allegations that India's solar energy programme discriminates against American companies, India said its polices are WTO compliant and the country would defend its stand.

"The U.S. already had a consultation with U.S. on solar domestic content and now they have come in for a second-phase challenge. It is not a surprise...We will participate in the consultations. Our current policy is WTO compliant. We will defend it," Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher told reporters.

The U.S. challenged the domestic content requirement of India's solar mission, which requires solar power developers to use Indian-made equipment. It alleged that the requirement was discriminatory and against international norms, including World Trade Organization (WTO) laws, and affects U.S. solar panel manufacturers.

Kher, however, pointed out that several U.S. companies have won contracts in phase II of India's National Solar Mission.

"If you look at the phase-II contracts, you will see that most of the contracts have gone to the American companies. They have participated in those bids and many of them have succeeded," he added.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said the U.S. had sought WTO dispute consultations with India over the domestic content requirements in phase II of India's solar programme."These domestic content requirements discriminate against U.S. exports by requiring solar power developers to use Indian-manufactured equipment instead of U.S. equipment. These unfair requirements are against WTO rules, and we are standing up today for the rights of American workers and businesses," Froman alleged.

In October, India approved measures for implementation of phase II of its National Solar Mission. For solar projects under phase II, he alleged that India is again imposing domestic content requirements, under which developers must use Indian-manufactured solar cells and modules.

A request for consultations is the first step in the WTO dispute settlement process and is intended to help parties find a solution. If the matter is not resolved through consultations within 60 days of the request, the U.S. may ask the WTO to establish a dispute settlement panel.

Last February, the U.S. had challenged India's solar programme and formally requested consultations over the first stage of the mission. The programme aims to double India's renewable energy capacity by 2017.

Both countries are contesting several cases at the WTO. Their bilateral trade stood at $61.35 billion in 2012-13.

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