South Africa has come out in support of India’s right to mandate use of domestic content in renewable energy projects.
Speaking at a press briefing at the BRICS meeting held earlier this month in India, South Africa’s trade and industry minister Rob Davies said that his country strongly opposes objection by some countries attempts to introduce restrictions on mandated use of local content in renewable energy projects.
He also called upon the BRICS members – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to discuss their respective renewable energy policies to ensure that rules regarding use of local content requirements are in compliance with World Trade Organisation rules.
India recently lost an appeal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against a decision that found the country’s regulations that mandate use of local content for some solar power projects. Under the National Solar Mission, India had mandated that around 5% of the planned 100 GW installed solar power capacity use locally-manufactured modules and equipment.
India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is now planning to file counter-complaints at WTO for what it believes violations of international trade agreements by some US states. Additionally, the government is also looking to offer direct subsidies to manufacturers, be it Indian or foreign willing to set up manufacturing units in the country. The subsidies could be in the form interest subvention or cheaper loans.
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