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China supports India at WTO on solar case

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China has supported India’s stand to appeal against the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ruling which said that India’s National Solar Mission violated global trade rules by imposing domestic content restrictions on production of solar cells. This is the first time that a major economy has supported India on the issue.

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The WTO’s dispute settlement panel had passed this ruling in February this year. The ruling came three years after the United States approached the WTO complaining that India was providing a protectionist regime for its domestic manufacturers of solar industry components.

China’s support was voiced here on Thursday by Xie Zhenhua, the country’s special representative for climate change, following the first meeting of BASIC group post Paris climate deal. The BASIC group comprises Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

“We support India’s position on this issue and we support their appeal against the WTO’s ruling. Most countries are giving subsidies for development of renewable energy,” said Xie Zhenhua.

Commenting on the WTO ruling against India, Union environment, forest and climate change minister Prakash Javadekar said, “It is unfortunate. When we have launched such a big programme on solar energy, a small portion of the components can be procured from the domestic manufacturers.”

Last year, India announced a paradigm shift in their renewable energy production targets and decided to scale up their target of renewable energy capacity to 175 gigawatts (gw) by 2022. Of this, 100 gw would come from solar energy, 60 gw from wind energy, 10 gw from bio-power and 5 gw from small hydro-power. Even in the Intended National Determined Contributions (INDC) submitted to the United Nations prior to the Paris climate conference, India said it will reduce emissions by scaling up share of non-fossil fuel production to 40%.

Early this year in January, the installed capacity of solar power in India crossed the 5,000 mw milestone. Following the BASIC meeting, ministers of all four countries reiterated that the Paris climate deal was a landmark moment which needs efforts to be implementable. All four countries will ratify the Paris deal on April 22 in New York.


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