The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently ruled against India’s National Solar Mission, which aimed 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, and have a positive impact on global warming. However, the U.S. Trade Representative claimed that India’s subsidized solar program discriminates against American suppliers, arguing that India’s solar plan created unfair barriers to the import of US-made solar panels.
A similar program in Canada produced a large number of green jobs while reducing C02 emissions. However, the US also challenged that program in the WTO, and Canada had to withdraw its incentive program. The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their legislatures. Their stated goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.
Trade Agreements can create opportunities for American businesses and help to grow the U.S. economy. However, current international trade rules limit governments’ capacity to support local renewable energy, undermining clean technology transfer and social betterment. Developing countries are suffering the most from global warming, while a few international corporations and selected politicians benefit economically. These economic agreements are clearly leading us in the wrong direction.
Justin Rowlatt, “Is the US Undermining India’s Solar Power Programme?” BBC News, Feb. 27, 2016, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-35668342
Ben Beachy, and Ilana Solomon,“The WTO Just Ruled Against India’s Booming Solar Plan,” Huffington Post, February 24, 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-beachy/the-wto-just-ruled-agains_b_9307884.html
Student Researcher: Jillian Solomon (San Francisco State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)