USA uses TPP-like trade-court to kill massive Indian solar project

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 [Vandita/The Anti-Media]

(via Naked Capitalism)

(Image: USAF)

Notable Replies

  1. Trade agreements are being revealed to be war by other means. Instead of country against country, it's corporations against democracy.

    When was the last time that a corporation dragged a dictatorship off to court, eh?

  2. Or India is trying to jump start a domestic solar panel industry.

  3. Yeah, it's well known that the USA doesn't unfairly subsidize any of its industries. With lucrative, over-priced defense contracts, fer starters, over-priced pharmaceuticals, subsidized farm products (growing rice in drought-ridden California?).

  4. As if there isn't rampant bureaucratic corruption here, in all aspects of our government? The point is that the US is using an international trade deal to end a project in a another nation, because it won't economically benefit an American company. That, too points to some sort of corruption, I'd think.

  5. The US system is a one-party system.

    The one party, the Business Interests Party, has two bitterly competing factions, the right-wing one and the righter-wing one, locked in bitter rivalry.

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