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'Trade Rules Trump Climate': WTO Deals Blow to India's Solar Program


'Trade Rules Trump Climate': WTO Deals Blow to India's Solar Program

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

In an outcome described as an outrage and a blow for local green jobs, the World Trade Organization ruled Wednesday in favor of the United States in its challenge to India's rapidly growing solar energy program.

It marks "a step in the wrong direction, away from the climate progress that the global community committed to achieve in December’s Paris climate agreement," according to Ilana Solomon, director of the Sierra Club’s Responsible Trade Program.


Just a taste of what's in store from the Trojan Horse TPP TTIP Obama & Co pushes along with his "bi-partisan" RepubliCon buddies. Global corporate dominance over nations sovereignty. Corporate profits are more important than society or national independence and self-rule!




Who first brought the complaint in the USA? India's program was in fact too successful wasn't it? In five years India had accomplished a solar miracle of rapid implementation and development of a renewable energy program nationwide. In just five years they had shown that a rapid response to growing energy needs through small scale solar was easy and possible and likely to become the perfect example that would be hard to refute in this swiftly overheating planet of ours.

We hear that the Koch brothers and Exxon and others are trying to delay the change to renewables and that makes pulling the rug out from under this particular success case extremely suspicious. It isn't even like solar panel manufacturers are having difficulty selling their products. Solar panel orders are back logged in the USA as demand exceeds supply.

The question indeed becomes an important one as the USA trade representative said but for other reasons. The expression 'tied up in red tape' comes to mind. There is also the restriction of growth placed on India's economy, the inhibition of free trade by retarding the growth of a solar panel industry that would eventually expand to international markets, the possible lawsuits against the WTO for causing a health crisis (excessive heat in India actually does kill every year) and delaying the implementation of part of a long term solution to climate change from getting off the ground causing damage to the world's economy through global warming and restriction solutions.

Perhaps the WTO (and whoever instigated this shamefully backward and environmentally suicidal ruling) should have to answer for this ruling in full? It is one thing to say it is unfair trade to USA solar manufacturers (who can't keep up with demand anyway and while states in the USA also offer inducements to their own local entrepreneurs here at home) but what about the cost to others besides solar panel manufacturers? The planet is in a profound crisis and that aspect of the situation is being ignored through a technicality but a technicality that restricts and delays a solution (in part) to that crisis.

The WTO should be sued by PEOPLE ...who will have to suffer and endure the results of this absurd restriction of ...common sense.

Lovely how officials in air conditioned offices in highly technological economies pass rulings that keep electricity from people who have no electricity in areas where it gets hot enough to kill every summer. Lovely.


And the powers that be wonder, "why are people so up.in arms about what is going on?" "Why is there talk of revolution in the air?"


it isn't free market when a country has no choice over what products they can use. What if the tables were turned and India demanded us to use their product and not ours. And that's why the TPP should be roundly rejected as well as this attitude of the rules are made by the biggest bullies (usually the case with America.) I can see wars being fought over this, and worker's rights trashed as well as the environment. But I'm sure the military industrial complex will be happy.


And the Clintons had their dirty hands in the WTO:

Scroll down to "Trade": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidency_of_Bill_Clinton

Remembering when the WTO went to NYC soon after 9/11 and how the MSM started announcing that the anti-globalization movement was dead. I managed to get past a huge presence of cops with an anti-WTO banner tucked under my coat and made it all the way to the front entrance of the hotel where all the WTO loving individuals were entering. They seemed a bit surprised when I unfurled the banner and managed to stay there for a little while. And now we have the pending TPP and TPI--really it is time for governments to tell the WTO and all the rest to go to hell and for people across the globe to band in solidarity in resistance through total non cooperation. Go India! You did it to rid yourself of the British now help lead the way to rid the world of the last vestiges of imperialism.


Is that what has happened? Is there an insistence by the WTO that India buy American solar panels? That is not what I understand from the article, but, the article is brief and limited in details.

From the article "The problem, as the U.S. saw it, was the part of India’s National Solar Mission REQUIRING solar power developers to use solar cells and modules
that are MADE IN INDIA."

No where did I read that India MUST now buy American. The article on hand suggest that the stipulation that solar panels MUST BE MADE IN INDIA is to be withdrawn.

Passion and virtue are swell, and the WTO is on my shit list, but, The details are important too. Misrepresentation of an argument only supplies the opposition with more cannon fodder, and there are too few of us fighting for the right as it is. But by all means if i need an education give me one.

After looking into it a bit more I can see that you were on the right track when you considered potential retaliation, though I don't know about "The Solar Panel Wars".

State side we also have similar Local Content Requirements(LCR) in many of our Green Energy Subsidies, and China and India are well aware that we are currently in violation of WTO trade law. Now I'm no expert on whether the WTO does or doesn't have a US or Western bias and the US LCR's subsides may not be as significant at those provided by India's National Solar Mission, BUT, were there to be retaliatory litigation then the green initiative could suffer globally.

That's the very core of this matter. Too much success for green tech is bad for the oligarchs. How can they insist we maintain our fossil fuel infrastructure if it is so easy to go green, that has always been the argument, that or some other variation on practicality. But maybe I am wrong, and there is no subterfuge. I am not immovable and can be swayed. Perhaps there are some subtleties or some nuance that could be easily explained to me by an economist or someone who is just a little more informed.


"Blocked"? I cant find any thing about blocking Chinese solar panels form making it to U.S. Markets. I do see there have been and Duties/Tariffs raised on these products. Is this what you mean?


And this very attack on solar energy is happening here in the US:



That thing in Nevada is so bizarre! The absolute worst imo. The dumbing down ... has dumbed up? Have our leaders and regulators become dumbed down? It sure looks like it. It sure seems like part of the attack on renewables by fossil fuel interests is involved. I bet that figure of 90% is bogus too and while 90% sounds like a lot it probably represents a small amount of actual solar panels since they can't make them fast enough as it is. China is the big manufacturer anyway so it seems like our local manufacturers ( who probably benefited from a rebate or tax abatement etc themselves) are messing with India's?

It says corruption and displays the abuse of power and lack of competition by corporate interests who rig their own game they way they want.

Crazy shit in any case. Capitalism begins to show that it cannot respond to emergencies and is not adaptable.


From what I see the complainant is the United States: this used to be a link that sourced my information but if your curious search "DISPUTE DS456 India — Certain Measures Relating to Solar Cells and Solar Modules" its the WTO site

Regarding the rest of what you said: YES YES and YES. They are bastards. Not only does this put a damper on the great work done in India, but this also puts similar "Local Content Requirement" programs state side in jeopardy (you mean we do the same thing here? Imagine that)

There are "forty-four such programs in twenty-three states within the United States. China and India have already identified several of these programs as incompatible with WTO law, raising the specter that these programs could quickly become the subject of WTO disputes if trade rules do not evolve to take into account the unique role of local governments in providing global public goods. Moreover, these programs are similar to ones found in other parts of the world, including programs within the European Union challenged by China before the WTO."

Stole that excerpt from a good source that expounds upon the need for Local Content Requirements (LCR's): This is where the link would be if I was allowed to enter one (just search "HOW LOCAL DISCRIMINATION CAN PROMOTE GLOBAL PUBLIC GOODS by TIMOTHY MEYER")

And this link would have taken you straight to Timothy Meyer's PDF: but I guess they are concerned about spam and malware to the point where we all must wear chains.


Maybe I am wrong but I advise India to flip the USA the bird. Tell the USA to stick it. If the USA does not like that, it can take us to court. AS the USA has not signed on to the ICC then they can not claim loss or damage in that court. It could sign up and support the world court but then might find all its leaders in jail for international crimes. So politely just say FU America.


India should withdraw from the WTO and form regional trade alliances and strengthen BRICS.

Down with trade imperialism!



Thanks for the info and link. I read the WTO's summary provided in this article. I am not conversant in either international law nor the WTO's appeals process which India should proceed with however the delay and disruption continues.

If there were any better example of how corporate control is NOT actually free trade you would be hard put to find it. Somehow when it comes to ending dependency on fossil fuels suddenly the corporate world regulates with abandon and reduces competition as well as preventing innovation and growth! Yet when environmental regulations are the issue then the corporate world screams about inhibiting free trade and over regulating markets and stifling growth etc.

I think the environmental crisis is forcing the world to see the truth that freedom and democracy are being attacked by stealth and suddenly we are seeing it for the first time without the cloak that has successfully hid the corporate coup all these years.

We have let them take so much power from people that it keeps looking scarier as more and more attempts to control freedom for the sake of personal profit are revealed.

Neo feudalism stalks our future where the few own practically everything and the struggle to survive keeps everybody else busy down at the bottom.


This article is at the least misleading and at the worst just plain false. The ruling is that India cannot require that the equipment be EXCLUSIVELY from internal manufacturers. There is nothing that would stop them from choosing to purchase their equipment from internal manufacturers. The trade agreements, which they signed, allow us to compete in the world. The agreement also allows them to compete in the world. Trade agreements stop war. They give us a legal framework to solve these disputes. Would you rather that we attacked them?


You're kidding, right? I never said the WTO is demanding India to buy their solar panels from the USA. What I said, and what the article makes clear, is that the U.S. is CHALLENGING, through the WTO, India's autonomous right to use their own made solar panels rather than buy them from other countries -- the largest supplier being the U.S.

"As the office of the U.S. trade representative stated following the ruling, 'Since India enacted these domestic content requirements in 2011, U.S. solar exports to India have fallen by over 90 percent.'"

And of course the U.S. is fighting this because they are losing a lot of business to India. I can understand how this hurts American industry and it's not good for our economy, but the problem with these sweeping global trade agreements is that they favor powerful corporations and powerful countries. As one of the most powerful countries the U.S. can throw its weight around and deny India the right to do what they think is best for their country. I'm not against trade with other countries, but I am against trade agreements that also give corporations carte blanche to trample over the environmental protections, worker protections, climate change solutions, etc that other countries have enacted for the good of the world and especially for their own country.


A sovereign nation should be able to do what it damn well chooses to do when manufacturing a product.


You are displaying your prejudice along with your misunderstanding. Obama has little if anything to do with the WTO. His glaring mistake is the TPP and supporting Clinton's SHAFTA. This latest round of multinational corporately designed and approved "trade" agreements is the final cap the Capitalists need to subjugate signing nations to a regime of world domination by international cartels and corporations, It is way bigger than Obama who is only a disappointing president of the United States of America. Take away our military and see what kind of clout we still have.


As long as it is safe to use for the purpose intended and is manufactured with environmentally sound methods. It would also be best if workers were fairly treated and paid with their health and safety a major concern. So you see there are requirements that supersede even the power of an absolute monarchy or a corporate oligarchy.


You need look no further than our own campaign financing to see the effect of wealth inequality created by the rise of capitalist dominance. We Need the socialists to create a healthy balance.