India will appeal against WTO panel’s ruling that the country’s power purchase agreements with solar firms were “inconsistent” with international norms, in the next few days. The February ruling came in the wake of a US complaint before the global trade body alleging discrimination against American firms. “Next few days,” said Power Minister Piyush Goyal when asked by when the country will be appealing against the decision. Rulings of the dispute settlement panel can be challenged at the WTO’s appellate body. “We have found some 16 programmes in the United States where states are giving support to their domestic manufacturers,” he said while talking to PTI on the sidelines of an event hosted by CII here. He was of the view that this would support India’s case.
The US had dragged India to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the issue in 2014, alleging that the clause relating to domestic content requirement (DCR) in the country’s solar power mission was discriminatory in nature and “nullified” the benefits accruing to American solar power developers. This was the second case where India has lost against the US at WTO. In June 2015, India lost a case when WTO ruled that the Indian ban on import of poultry meat, eggs and live pigs from the US was inconsistent with the global norms. The appellate body is a standing entity of seven persons that hears appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought forward by WTO members.
The body can uphold, modify or reverse legal findings and conclusions. Its reports, once adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body, must be accepted by the parties to the dispute. To a question if the government will provide incentives or hand-holding to investors in offshore wind installations, the minister said: “Of course, at initial stage, we would support this thing and try to look at technological innovation and fast-track the development.” There are worries that the offshore wind segment will get tepid response from investors in view of higher costs compared with onshore and other clean sources. The Union Cabinet had last year approved the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy for harnessing this clean source of energy by setting up wind mills in the sea as well as research and development activity.
India added 3,300 mw of wind power generation capacity last fiscal as against the targeted 2,400 mw, jacking up the total wind power capacity to 26,744 mw as on March 31.