The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was on track to deliver deploy 20,000 MW of grid connected solar power by 2022 ("more than the current solar capacity of the world’s top five solar-producing countries combined") but because India specified that the solar panels for it were to be domestically sourced, the USA sued it in WTO trade court and killed it.
The USA has its own domestic solar initiatives that generally have "buy local" rules, but those are permissible under the WTO. The WTO court ruled that India's buy-local rules were not, and ordered the initiative's cessation despite its role in helping India to meet its obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Trans Pacific Partnership, a secretly negotiated trade agreement, expands the sorts of powers the WTO creates to allow multinationals to sue governments to repeal policies that undermine their profitability. Expect lots more of this in the future if the TPP passes.
By putting pressure on India’s solar program, and by hiding behind the biased WTO agreements, the United States wants to boost its solar exports to India, which it argues have fallen by 90% from 2011, when India imposed the rules. Claiming that India was unfairly restricting access to American suppliers, US trade representative Michael Froman justified the perverse move in February 2014: “These domestic content requirements discriminate against US exports by requiring solar power developers to use India- manufactured equipment instead of US equipment. These unfair requirements are against WTO rules, and we are standing up today for the rights of American workers and businesses.”
Preview of the TPP? America Just Blocked a Massive Solar Project in India
(via Naked Capitalism)
Colombia wants to produce Novartis’s leukemia drug imatinib under a compulsory license, something it is allowed to do under its trade agreement with the USA, to bring the price down from $15,161/year (double the annual average income) to prices like those charged in India ($803/year).
Justin Shafer was roused from his bed this week by thunderous knocking at his North Richland Hills, Texas home, and when he opened the door, found himself staring down the barrel of a ‘big green’ assault weapon, wielded by one of the 12-15 armed FBI agents on his lawn.
Every year, the Senate passes a secret bill (that is, a bill whose text is a secret during its debate) that re-authorizes intelligence agencies’ surveillance powers; this year, someone (possibly chairman Richard Burr, R-NC and/or Tom Cotton, R-AR) has snuck in an amendment that would give the FBI the power to demand warrantless access to […]
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