India drags US to WTO over renewable energy subsidies

India has moved the World Trade Organisation seeking consultations with the United States under the dispute settlement system regarding alleged domestic content requirements and subsidies provided by eight US states, including Washington, California, Montana, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, Delaware and Minnesota, in the renewable energy sector.

India has complained to the WTO about the illegal subsidies and domestic content requirements that these US states use to prop up their renewables sector, even as the US has won a similar case against India, the WTO said in a statement on Monday.

The request for consultations formally initiates a dispute in the WTO. 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 have failed to resolve the dispute, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.

The WTO statement did not give details of the complaint and there was no immediate comment from India's trade ministry. But India has voiced concerns in the past about US support for its solar power industry.

The race to build national solar capacity and grab a chunk of a new global market has become a major new cause of trade friction between big trading powers. India lost a case at the WTO earlier this year after the United States complained about New Delhi's national solar programme.

India has appealed that ruling and the new dispute will prove Washington's double standards in trade.

In 2013, India had filed questions at the WTO about suspected subsidies in solar programmes in four US states - Delaware, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Connecticut - as well as local content requirements in Michigan and California's renewable energy programmes.