he government said India will appeal against the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) verdict over its policy relating to solar power equipment.
“The U.S. made it a prestige issue. It is very unfortunate that they pursued the complaint in the WTO. It reflects the hollowness of the U.S.’ commitment to clean energy,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said while addressing CII-Young Indians Summit on Friday.
India had, as part of its National Solar Mission, imposed a stipulation that solar cells and solar modules be locally sourced.
The U.S. had filed a case against India at the WTO demanding a level-playing field for Indian and foreign solar component manufacturers. The world body ruled in favour of the U.S.
India’s capacity to produce solar components and solar cells comprises only a portion of the demand in India, the Minister said. This means that the foreign component makers would still have a substantial market to cater to. “Yet, they filed a complaint. It is a myopic view,” Mr. Goyal said.
Indian manufacturers had a complaint against the U.S. counterparts for dumping in India, he said. This would have attracted huge anti-dumping penalties and duties for the U.S. manufacturers, had it been pursued.
“I convinced our manufacturers not to go ahead with their complaint as a show of good faith. But the U.S. has not returned this good faith,” Mr. Goyal said.
“If we go back to anti-dumping rules, then solar tariffs will go up again and we might have to drop such a beautiful programme,” he said.
The Minister also said he was examining the situation in the U.S. where nine states had similar programmes to protect their domestic manufacturers.
“We will file a case against them soon. I am examining them,” Mr. Goyal said.
The Indian government was committed to its domestic manufacturers and would find other ways to protect them, he said.
During his speech, Mr Goyal also spoke about a working group that had been created under the leadership of Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari to explore ways to ensure widespread usage of electric vehicles in India.
“We have created a working group under Mr. Gadkari with Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Environment Minister (Prakash) Javadekar and me as members to see how we can have 100 per cent electric vehicles by 2030,” the power minister said.