India-US solar issue: WTO sets up dispute panel

Tags: News
The WTO has set up a dispute settlement panel to examine a complaint by the US against India's domestic content requirements under the country's solar power programme, Parliament was informed today.

"Since the consultations could not result into satisfactory outcome, on the request of the US, the Dispute Settlement Body established the WTO dispute panel in May. Once the panel is composed, the panel proceedings shall be finalised by the WTO secretariat," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha.

The US has filed a complaint in the WTO against India's domestic content requirement (DCR) under the country's Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

The Minister said the US has claimed that the DCR violates WTO agreements such as national treatment principle and agreement on trade related investment measures.

On the issue, consultations were held with the US in March 2013 and March 2014 under the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism but no satisfactory result came out.

India has an ambitious target of generating 20,000 megawatts of solar power by 2022.

"India is preparing the defence strategy based on WTO principles and jurisprudence," she said.

The US has also dragged the country into WTO on certain measures related to import prohibition of poultry and poultry products from the country infected with avian influenza viral strains.

Similarly, India too has filed a complaint against the US in WTO on countervailing duty imposed by America on certain hot rolled carbon steel products of India.

Besides, the Minister said, both the countries have raised certain issues at WTO SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary)/ TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) committee meetings.

"The Indian side has raised the issue relating to fixing of maximum residual levels on basmati rice. The US side has raised the issues relating to food safety and standards regulation, toys and e-waste," she added.

Replying to another question, the Minister said the meeting of India-US Trade Policy Forum has not been held during the last three years.

The US-India TPF is an inter-agency collaboration led by the USTR. It is the principal trade dialogue between the countries. It has five focus groups: Agriculture, Investment, Innovation and Creativity (intellectual property rights), Services, and Tariff and Non-Tariff Barriers.

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