Sean King Channel News Asia

Sean King of Park Strategies says he doesn’t think there’s any political impetus behind the WTO complaint against India.
Image: Channel News Asia

The U.S. last week announced that it would be filing a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against India over domestic content requirements in its massive new solar program. India plans to double renewable energy capabilities within the next three years—but as of now requires Indian solar developers to use only locally made equipment. The U.S.’s complaint is that by doing so, India effectively boxes out U.S. producers and hinders its own growth in the renewable energy industry. According to Reuters, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman says, “Domestic content requirements detract from successful cooperation on clean energy and actually impede India’s deployment of solar energy by raising its cost.” The WTO complaint has contributed to a strained relationship between the U.S. and India, with many wondering if there is a political impetus behind the U.S.’s actions. To this, Sean King, Park Strategies’ Senior Vice President and former Senior Advisor to Asia to the Department of Commerce says, “I don’t think there’s anything political to read into this… The U.S. and the Obama administration are very pro-India at the moment.” Sean King’s comments were part of an interview with Channel News Asia, where he discussed John Kerry’s tour of Asia and the next round of Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. While solar trade groups in the U.S. are pleased with the WTO case filing, environmental groups have asked that the administration back off. They say that allowing India to build up its own solar power industry will ultimately help Asia’s third-largest economy cut its greenhouse gas emissions down to size. On the other hand, though, disallowing the use of equipment from U.S. producers could seriously slow down India’s efforts at expanding solar energy throughout the country. Watch the interview with Sean King below to learn more about developments in the TPP and the WTO against India: