WTO rules against renewable energy and jobs in India – Friends of the Earth reaction

Geneva, Switzerland, February 24 2016 - Today the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruled against India’s National Solar mission, which aims to rapidly increase the country’s renewable energy and create local jobs. The plan would bring energy to millions of people by generating 100 gigawatts of solar energy annually by 2022.  

The WTO case, brought by the United States, found against India’s Solar Mission because the government-funded program included a domestic content clause, which would require part of the solar cells to be produced nationally. India has been trying to reach a settlement with the US on this issues for a number of weeks. India may now have to adjust its solar mission to comply with WTO trade rules or risk sanctions. 

In response Sam Cossar-Gilbert, Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice Resisting Neo-Liberalism Coordinator, said:

“The WTO ruling against India’s National Solar Mission shows how arcane trade rules can be used to undermine governments that support clean energy and local jobs. The ink is barely dry on the UN Paris Climate agreement, but clearly trade still trumps real action on climate change.” said Sam Cossar, Friends of the Earth International program coordinator

“Trade agreements are often stumbling blocks for action on climate change. Current trade rules limit governments' capacity to support local renewable energy, undermine clean technology transfer and empower fossil fuel companies to attack climate protection in secret courts. Trade policies are preventing a sustainable future." 

“In the last three months alone, Ecuador was ordered to pay $1billion dollars for cancelling a petrol contract under a Bilateral Investment Treaty, and now India has been found guilty by the WTO for building solar panels and supporting local jobs. Trade policy can not continue to be a hindrance: Governments must be free to implement sound climate policy.”

“We need to rapidly transition to a climate safe and just future. Today’s destructive decision by the WTO takes us in the wrong direction. This ruling shows the dangers posed by more wide-ranging trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and Transatlantic Trade, Investment Partnership (TTIP), which will liberalize trade in dirty fossil fuels and restrict government options even further.”

For more Information please contact  

Friends of the Earth International Economic Justice, Resisting Neoliberalism Coordinator:
Sam Cossar-Gilbert, +33 7 50 91 89 83, sam.cossargilbert [at] foe.org.au

WTO panel decision: http://insidetrade.com/sites/insidetrade.com/files/documents/feb2016/wto2016_0538a.pdf

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