US practicing double standards in solar trade: Piyush Goyal

The United States won an unjust victory in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against India promoting its domestic solar energy companies when sixteen states in the United States provide the same protection, power minister Piyush Goyal said.

India has found that 16 states in the US "have similar Domestic Content Requirements when they procure solar panels for their energy needs," NDTV quoted Goyal as saying.

US managed to win a case against India promoting its domestic solar energy players when the US it itself uses the same protection in its own states, he said.

"It is very unfortunate that the US on one side continues to have its own Domestic Content Requirement and purchase of solar equipment giving preference to domestic manufacturers and on the other hand, chooses to go against the developing world," the minister told NDTV

India, however, has been more considerate when it showed restraint in imposing anti-dumping duties on American manufacturers, even when it had won the right to do so in a recent ruling, Goyal said, adding, "domestic manufacturers showed magnanimity" and "the US should have reciprocated with a similar gesture."

"(It is) very unfortunate that they took this route rather than promoting renewable energy in developing countries," he said.

A World Trade Organization panel had in February ruled in favour of a US claim that India's domestic content requirements in its solar power programme breaches international trade regulations.

WTO's dispute settlement board ruled that India's requirement that only India-made products be used in large parts of its rapidly expanding solar power industry were "inconsistent" with global trade regulations (See: US wins WTO ruling against India in solar panel dispute).

On Wednesday, India filed an appeal against the WTO decision and is awaiting the final decision of its highest court - the Appellate Authority  - to strike down its lower panel ruling that denied the Indian government's local content requirements for solar cells and modules (India to appeal WTO's adverse ruling on solar PPAs).

India has said it will file 16 cases against the US violations of WTO policies at the United Nations in New York during Goyal's visit, but is yet to do so.

He, however, added that the WTO ruling won't deter India from supporting domestic manufacturers. "On the contrary we are coming out with a new policy which will encourage further domestic manufacturing in India and are fully committed to India becoming a leading solar equipment manufacturer in the near future," he added.