India hit back US latest legal assault on solar claim at WTO, explores new defence

Vastavam web: India hit back on Monday at Washington’s latest legal assault on its solar power policies at the World Trade Organization, rejecting a U.S. legal claim and exploring possible new protection of India’s own solar industry.Last month the United States triggered a new round of litigation at the WTO, arguing that India had failed to abide by a ruling that it had illegally discriminated against foreign suppliers of solar cells and modules.

“India underscores that the United States’ request is not a valid request,” the Indian statement said.It said Washington had skipped legal steps, failed to follow the correct WTO procedure, and omitted to mention any specific level of trade sanctions that it proposed to level on India, leaving India “severely prejudiced”.Renewable energy has become an area of severe trade friction as major economies compete to dominate a sector that is expected to thrive as reliance on coal and oil dwindles.

India unveiled its national solar programme in 2011, seeking to ease chronic energy shortages in Asia’s third-largest economy without creating pollution.In a separate move that could protect its solar industry from global competitors, not only U.S. rivals, India told the WTO last week that it was considering the case for imposing temporary emergency tariffs on solar cells, modules and panels, after a petition from the domestic industry.So-called safeguard tariffs are permitted by the WTO if there is evidence of serious harm, or threat of serious harm, to a country’s production from a sudden, unforeseen surge in imports.