India will file 16 cases against the US for violating WTO treaties as certain programmes of the western country in the renewable energy sector are “inconsistent” with global norms, Parliament was informed on May 11. “Yes,” said Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha that “whether it is a fact that the government is going to file 16 cases against the US for violating WTO treaties”. India, the minister said, believes that certain renewable energy programmes of the US at the sub-federal level are inconsistent with WTO provisions, particularly with respect to the obligation under GATT (General Agreement on Tariff and Trade) 1994, Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures and/or TRIMS (Trade-Related Investment Measures) Agreement. In a separate reply, she said India has appealed before the WTO appellate body on the findings and recommendations of the dispute settlement panel.
To promote domestic manufacturing of solar cells and modules, which is one of the components of the National Solar Mission, India set domestic content requirement for a few of the programmes under the mission. In a separate reply, the minister said India continues to be placed on the priority watch list under the US Special 301 on account of US assessment of Indian intellectual property rights (IPR) protection being inadequate. “The Special 301 report issued by the US under their Trade Act of 1974 is a unilateral measure to create pressure on countries to enhance IPR protection beyond the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement,” she added. She made a point that the report which is an “extra territorial application” of the domestic law of a country is inconsistent with established norms of WTO. Last month, releasing its annual 301 Report, the US has said it will continue to put India and China on its priority watch list for IPR.