India Launches WTO Action Against US Over Renewable Energy

Photovoltaic technicians

Image Source: Solar Plaza

India has lodged a complaint against the US with the World Trade Organization over what it alleges are unfair subsidy and incentive programmes provided by both federal and state governments to local renewable energy firms.

According to the Indian complaint, the provision of government subsidies to US renewable energy companies for local content requirements breaches the WTO’s Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIM) agreement and has unfairly impeded the entry of Indian firms in the sector.

A report submitted by the Indian government to the WTO’s Subsidies and Countervailing Measures Committee pointed to four US states in particular – Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts and Minnesota – as implementing subsidy measures to expedite the growth of local firms at the expense of foreign entrants.

India has further requested that the US disclose in detail “which state or regional or local-level renewable energy programmes provide subsidies,” as well as rebates and credits to domestic solar manufacturers.

ajay goel

Ajay Goel. Image Source: Renewable Markets India

Leading Indian solar PV manufacturers have been vocal in their complaints about the difficulty of entering the US market as a result of the government support enjoyed by their domestic rivals.

Global tech manufacturing company Moser Baer says it has been forced to withdraw from the US market as a result of “several fiscal incentives, given especially by the US Department of Defense, for locally made solar panels,” and that such unfair measures were absent in Europe and Japan. Other Indian renewable manufacturers have also spoken out regarding the issue.

“Preferential treatment is given to US manufacturers,” says Ajay Goel, CEO of Tata Solar Power. “Due to this, we have not been able to make much inroads there. We have a bunch of investments on hold because of this.”

The filing arrives just two months after a similar complaint was lodged by the US against the Indian government with the WTO. According to the US complaint lodged with the WTO in February, India had provided subsidies  to local companies for solar cells and solar modules as part of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

By Marc Howe
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