Trade rules derail India’s clean energy plan

26 February 2016

This week the World Trade Organisation put a road block in the way of India’s efforts to invest in renewable energy while creating jobs for its people.

According to Grist, the WTO dispute panel ruled that aspects of India’s National Solar Mission - which require a proportion of the solar cells to be manufactured in India - were “inconsistent” with international trade norms and therefore prohibited.

This follows last year’s ruling by the WTO against the US' mandatory country of origin meat labelling which decided that such labelling discriminated against imported meat products.

The Australian Government promised to introduce country of origin labelling for imported food products in the wake of the outbreak of hepatitis caused by imported frozen berries. The WTO ruling may make this process more difficult. The TPP has similar rules which could be used against an attempt to introduce country of origin food labelling.

It’s another reminder that trade rules should be designed with the right principles in place - principles based on human rights, labour rights and environmental sustainability.