The US solar energy industry representatives said on Friday that India’s industrial policy discriminates against its exports and hoped that New Delhi will come to the table to discuss the trade barriers.
Testifying before a Congressional committee,John Smirnow,vice president of the Solar Energy Industry Association alleged that India’s local content requirement “discriminates against US solar exports and,thereby,provides an unfair competitive advantage to India’s domestic solar manufacturers.”
“With some of the best solar resources in the world and the cost of solar continuing to decline,India’s solar sector is poised for explosive growth,providing an important export opportunity for US solar manufacturers,” he told lawmakers.
“Our only hope is that the US government’s recent decision to initiate a WTO case against India will eventually cause India to reverse course,” Smirnow added.
He pointed to a recent WTO finding in a similar case where it was ruled that Canada’s local content requirement for solar goods,substantially similar to India’s,violated Canada’s WTO obligations.
In response,Canada has indicated that the solar program will be brought into compliance with the WTO decision,which we presume means that Canada will remove the local content provision,he said.
He added that India should follow Canada’s lead and remove the local content provision from its national solar mission.
Smirnow argued that while the local content requirements may provide some protection for domestic manufacturers,they stifle innovation and limit a country’s access to new technologies.
Looking forward,the US solar industry representative said the body was concerned that India will expand its local content requirement yet again to cover thin film technology,effectively targeting hundreds of millions of dollars of US exports.
“It’s important context the US government first tried to establish a collaborative dialogue with India regarding the local content requirement but was rebuffed. The US case was,therefore,a last-ditch effort to get India to the table,” he said.