Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Today's Head Thumper, Courtesy of the WTO

Trade agreement trumps climate accord: WTO rules against India solar program

For Immediate Release: February 24, 2016

Trade agreement trumps climate accord: WTO rules against India solar program

Today in a lawsuit brought by the United States, a World Trade Organization tribunal ruled that India's national solar energy program violates international trade law because it provides incentives for creation of local green jobs. Many U.S. states have similar programs.

Bill Waren, senior trade analyst at Friends of the Earth had this statement:

Friends of the Earth is dismayed that climate policy is being made by an international trade tribunal. The government of India reasonably provided some preferences for local producers of solar energy in order to convert from a carbon economy to a green economy. The WTO decision, finding India's solar energy program a violation of international trade law, is an outrage. Trade law trumps the Paris climate accord.

Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.


William Connolley said...

> because it provides incentives for creation of local green jobs

But did it? That's their view; the ruling is at

More precisely, "The Panel found that the DCR [domestic content requirements] measures are trade-related investment measures covered by paragraph 1(a) of the Illustrative List in the Annex to the TRIMs Agreement. The Panel found that this suffices to establish that they are inconsistent with both Article III:4 of the GATT 1994 and Article 2.1 of the TRIMs Agreement...". And so on.

So I think that FOE's words, which you're repeating, are dubious. The sin is not in seeking to create jobs; but in obliging use of locally made solar panels (on distinctly dubious grounds: "India argued that the DCR measures are justified... on the grounds that its lack of domestic manufacturing capacity in solar cells and modules, and/or the risk of a disruption in imports, makes these “products in general or local short supply” ").

David in Cal said...

Can't India just restructure its solar program to eliminate the domestic content requirement? It should be possible to have a solar program that compies with its trade agreements. There doesn't need to be any conflict here, as far as I can see.