Says HuffoPo. It is bullshit, of course, but lots of people seem to have fallen for it. I found the HuffPo link because mt posted it; and DA quotes FOE saying Trade agreement trumps climate accord: WTO rules against India solar program. As usual, the usual suspects are so busy being outraged they barely tell you what the actual issue is.
The WTO ruling is here. There’s some lawyerly blather, but not much of it, and its not too hard to read. Skip to the “Summary of key findings” which starts:
The claims brought by the United States concern domestic content requirements (DCR measures) imposed by India in the initial phases of India’s ongoing National Solar Mission. These requirements, which are imposed on solar power developers selling electricity to the government, concern solar cells and/or modules used to generate solar power. The Panel found that the DCR measures are trade-related investment measures covered by [the WTO]
So: the Indian programme insists that people buy (some proportion, I don’t know) of domestically produced solar panels, and this is covered by the WTO. They continue the Panel found that the discrimination relating to solar cells and modules under the DCR measures is not covered by the government procurement derogation in [blah] – i.e., the Indians weren’t allowed to weasel out, fine though weasels obviously are. The Indians tried some more weaselling:
India argued that the DCR measures are justified under the general exception in Article XX(j) of the GATT 1994, on the grounds that its lack of domestic manufacturing capacity in solar cells and modules, and/or the risk of a disruption in imports, makes these “products in general or local short supply” within the meaning of that provision…
but that was obvious bullshit, so the panel rejected it. And there you have it. The Indian government, by restricting cheap imports, wants to have fewer solar panels than they could otherwise afford. This is stupid, but an all too common reaction. Because its the – gasp, ZOMG, evil – WTO making the ruling on behalf of the (obviously) bloated plutocrats of the – gasp, ZOMG, evil – US zillionaires (although the connection there is somewhat tenuous; I’d have thought it was the Chinks who would be supplying the cheap panels), the usual idiots jump up and down and complain. When the people they should be complaining about are the idiot Indian government which is desperately trying to make its own people poorer. The WTO is not resticting the number of solar panels that India can install; to the contrary, they are helping them install more. Predictably enough, Timmy gets it right though I’ll point out that my comment at QS predates his post.
[Update: there’s also India’s Quite Right In The WTO Complaint Over US Temporary Visa Fees. My confident prediction is that not one of the people up in arms over the WTO when it ruled against India will display the slightest interest.]
* No Slowdown – Tamino.
* Timmy against tariffs
* CIP is pugnacious – or so he says.
* Terrible Economics From The Lancet On Food Supplies And Climate Change – Timmy
* More than half of top-tier economics papers are replicable, study finds