‘Antiquated’ Trade Rules Strike at India’s Successful Solar Program
The World Trade Organization has ruled that local procurement provisions in India’s five-year-old National Solar Mission violate international trade agreements, showing that “decades-old, overreaching trade rules are out of sync with the global challenge to transition to 100% clean energy,” the U.S. Sierra Club reports on HuffPostGreen.
India’s “common-sense solar initiative” is “a core component of the country’s contribution to the Paris agreement to tackle climate disruption,” Sierra notes. Yet the office of the U.S. Trade Representative “called the ruling a significant victory that would hasten the spread of solar energy across the world and support clean energy jobs in the United States,” Reuters reports.
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Since the National Solar Mission began in 2011, “India has gone from having virtually no solar capacity to boasting one of the world’s fastest-growing solar industries,” Sierra explains. “In just the last year, a parade of leading solar companies has announced plans to establish new factories in India to produce solar cells.”
Recent solar auctions in India produced record-low prices from a list of vendors that included international suppliers.
In the trade dispute, launched by the U.S. in 2013, “India argued that the program helps the country to meet its climate commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” Beachy writes. But the WTO rejected that argument.
“Indeed, the ruling boldly states that domestic policies seen as violating WTO rules cannot be justified on the basis that they fulfill UNFCCC or other international climate commitments. In effect, the WTO has officially asserted that antiquated trade rules trump climate imperatives.”