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Indian government tries to put the WTO Solar Panel favoritism case to rest

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The Indian government is proposing a bilateral deal with USA in the domestic content requirements solar case that India had lost earlier. USA had brought a case against India’s policy of reserving some part of the capacity in solar tenders for domestically manufactured solar cells and modules. We had thought it extremely hypocritical of USA to bring such a case, given its ARRA act and also its policy of imposing high duties on imports of Chinese solar panels. Note India is also allowed under WTO rules to impose duties on foreign panel imports. In fact an investigation into dumping of solar panels by a government arm DGAD had found sufficient cause and recommended anti-dumping duties. But the Indian government had thought it would not be a wise move to raise the solar costs and had instead found a compromise by allocating some capacity for domestic makers.

Read India’s Anti-dumping story here.

USA still continued its stupid bullheaded course of action and filed a case against India at WTO. This has been criticized by USA based environment NGOs, but the USA government did not stop. The Indian government has been extremely aggressive in promoting solar energy in the country and has also formed an international solar alliance. Most of its solar installation are being done by solar imports, but USA is being blind to that.

The Indian government is now proposing a compromise, though I don’t think it should do so. The Indian government wants to restrict domestic makers reservation to use of solar power by defense and railways only. This should help the government close the case with USA. Also India has got numerous applications by large foreign manufacturers to build solar factories in India. Some large Indian companies such as Waaree, Adani, Tatas are already increasing their capacity as well. For India, it is mostly a non-issue now. This is the main reason I think that government wants to move on. But in my view, the government should play hard ball and impose duties on USA solar panels and cells. Though India imports most of its requiring from China, Taiwan and Malaysia, it is strangely USA which is going all out after India. The country has already imposed high taxes on Indian IT workers by passing a discriminatory bill against Indian IT companies. India should not play soft and retaliate against USA to show that it cannot be pushed over. Being the fastest growing major economy, USA companies desperately need India for growth. Apple is already touting India as its major new growth driver. India needs to use this to its own advantage.

Source – Mint

India has agreed to modify its solar power programme and sent a proposal to the US in a bid to strike a bilateral deal ahead of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) final ruling on their dispute on Friday. India lost the preliminary case at the WTO in August last year.

According to the proposal worked out jointly by the commerce ministry and the ministry of new and renewable energy, India will now use the domestic content requirement for buying solar panels for its own consumption—such as by the railways and defence—and will not sell the power generated from such subsidized panels for commercial use.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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