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Solar issue: India, US to hold talks in Geneva on March 21

According to reports, India and the US will hold consultations under the aegis of WTO on March 20-21 in Geneva on American allegations of discrimination against its products by New Delhi’s national solar mission.

“We have fixed March 20-21 for consultations. Our team will leave by March 18th,” a senior official in the commerce ministry told PTI.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry Sudhanshu Pandey will lead the team. He will be accompanied by two lawyers, director level officials, officials from NTPC, the official added.

Last month, the US had filed a complaint in the WTO that alleging discrimination by India’s national solar mission against American products.

The US Trade Representative (USTR) had alleged that India’s programme appears to discriminate against US solar equipment by requiring solar energy producers to use locally manufactured cells and by offering subsidies to those developers who use domestic equipment.

It is also alleged that forced localisation requirements restrict US exports to India markets.

On January 11, 2010, India launched its national solar policy—— the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

As per the procedure of WTO, consultation is the first stage of a complaint filed with the global trade body.

Consultations give the parties an opportunity to discuss the matter and to find a satisfactory solution without proceeding further with litigation. After 60 days, if consultations fail to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.

The solar issue is the latest in the list of disputes between India and the US in the WTO.

Last year, the US has dragged India to the WTO over New Delhi’s ban on imports of American poultry products.

India had also lodged a complaint against the US on the issue of import duties imposed on Indian steel products by the US.

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