Government has decided against dragging the US to the WTO for alleged violation of the world trade body’s norms on renewable energy as it prefers a bilateral solution, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal said today. “The US has requested for bilateral consultations to which we readily agreed. The commerce ministry is in dialogue with them. We believe that dialogues are a better way in sensitive subjects like renewable energy,” he told reporters. The Minister further said the government has found 16 instances of violation of norms about local content requirement under the National Solar Mission, and lawyers have been working on filing the cases since April.
Goyal, however, made it clear that the government is engaging with the US only for a favourable outcome. “As long as the bilateral resolution is in our interest, we are open to it,” he said. On May 11, Industry and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had informed Parliament that Government would file 16 cases against the US for violating WTO norms in the renweables sector. Sitharaman had said the Government believed that certain American renewable energy programmes at the sub-federal level are inconsistent with WTO provisions, particularly with respect to the Gatt obligations (General agreement on tariff and trade of 1994), agreement on subsidies and countervailing measures and/or Trims (Trade-related investment measures) agreement.
In another statement in the House, she had said the country continued to be placed on the priority watch list under the Special 301 on account of US assessment of our intellectual property rights (IPR) protection being inadequate. Meanwhile, Goyal today said his ministry will be focusing on the wind and the hydel power next year, having achieved good success in solar sector over the past two years.