The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission was on track to 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)