Solar panel case:To counter US at WTO, India seeks compliance panel

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To counter the US allegation that India had not complied with the World Trade Organisation’s ruling in the solar panels dispute case, New Delhi has sought the establishment of a compliance panel to examine the matter and sort out the disagreement.

“India has also asked for a special meeting of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) to be convened on February 9 to consider its request,” said a WTO official.

Last month, the US had sought the WTO’s nod to suspend trade concessions to India to compensate for losses caused by the country’s alleged non-compliance with the multilateral body’s ruling in the solar dispute case.

The countermeasures would consist of suspension of tariff concessions and related obligations (including most-favoured-nation obligations) on a list of products of India to be drawn from the harmonised tariff schedule of the US, it added.

India said that the US request was not a valid under the absence of initiation of the negotiations on compensation, and its failure to specify either any specific element of non-compliance or the proposed level of suspension of concessions.

The DSB, in 2016, had ruled in favour of a US complaint against the requirement that power producers under India’s national solar power generation programme — the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission — should compulsory procure a part of solar panels and modules for their projects from local producers as it argued that the provision discriminated against foreign producers.

“India confirms that after December 2016, there have been no Power Purchase Agreementss pursuant to guidelines and request for selection documents requiring domestic content requirement measures determined to be inconsistent under the DSB recommendations and rulings,” the country stated in its submission to the DSB requesting a compliance panel.

As of the date of expiry of the reasonable period of time for compliance on December 14, 2017, India is fully compliant with its WTO obligations, the submission added.

“As India has complied with the DSB recommendations and rulings in this dispute, prompt findings by the DSB will assist the parties in securing a positive solution to the dispute,” it said.



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