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Solar issue at WTO: India, US complete consultations

According to reports, India and the US have completed consultations under WTO on American charges of discrimination against its products by New Delhi’s national solar mission.

“Both the sides have completed the consultations. Now the ball is in the court of the US,” a senior official in the Commerce Ministry told PTI.

The consultations followed after the US filed a complaint in the WTO in February alleging discrimination by India’s national solar mission against American products.

As per the procedure of the World Trade Organization, consultation is the first stage of a complaint filed with the global trade body.
According to the official, in case the US says that it is not satisfied with the bilateral deliberations, America could go for setting up of a panel under the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism.

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 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.

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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