After rebuffing Masood ban, China backs India against WTO ruling

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) A week after it blocked efforts to ban Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, China on Thursday supported India against the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that opposes India’s domestic manufacturing under its National Solar Mission.

The WTO on February 24 ruled against India’s ‘Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission’ on the plea that New Delhi’s efforts towards the indigenous production of solar cells violated WTO rules. The ruling came on a 2013 complaint filed by the US.

“We support India in their appeal against the WTO ruling. We support the domestic industry to manufacture products for the solar industry,” said Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change of China.

The Chinese support came at the 22nd BASIC Ministerial meeting on climate change held in New Delhi, where Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar was representing India. Representatives from the other countries Brazil, South Africa and China were also present.

Last week, India’s move to get Pathankot terror attacks mastermind, JeM chief Masood Azhar, banned by the UN was rebuffed by China – for the second such time, causing huge disappointment in India. China, a close friend of Pakistan, had said that Azhar did not meet the UN criteria to be banned as a terrorist.

China’s burgeoning solar industry too faces political opposition in the US.

A joint statement issued by the four countries here welcomed the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change – 21st Conference of Parties (COP-21) in December last year.

The United States had in 2013 filed a complaint with the WTO against India providing support to domestic solar cell manufacturers under its National Solar Mission, which Washington said was against the international trade agreement. USA claimed that India violated domestic content requirements (DCR) rules. A three-member dispute settlement panel of the WTO was set up in 2013. The panel ruled against India on February 24, 2016.

India in its appeal against the WTO ruling, argued that the DCR measure were justified on the ground that they secure its compliance with laws required to promote sustainable development.

India also argued that its solar programme was helping it to meet its commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

India’s solar energy programme is considered one of the world’s largest and fastest renewable energy programmes. At present India generates around 5,000 megawatts of solar energy from virtually nil some five years back.

India had also scaled up its target to produce solar energy by pushing ahead the 20,000 megawatts of solar electricity generation to 1,00,000 megawatts by 2022.

In the meeting, India along with China, Brazil and South Africa issued a joint statement to ratify the Paris ‘COP 21 Global Climate Agreement’ in New York on April 22.

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