WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) - Environmental groups urged
the United States on Wednesday to drop a challenge to India's
massive solar program and said the World Trade Organization
case would only hurt the growth of renewable energy resources.
The United States is taking action at the WTO over the
domestic content requirements in India's program, which aims to
ease chronic energy shortages in Asia's third-largest economy.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has said making
Indian solar developers use locally made equipment discriminates
against U.S. producers, in breach of WTO rules, and could hinder
the spread of solar power globally by making equipment more
But green groups including the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA
and Friends of the Earth U.S. said supporting the U.S. industry
should not come at the expense of India's push to cut fossil
fuels and build a viable domestic renewables industry, which
would in turn help global efforts to tackle climate change.
"The U.S. should not compromise the long-term growth of the
solar market just so that it can achieve limited near-term
gain," a coalition of 15 groups wrote in a letter to Froman.
The United States, which says that more competition in solar
power will lead to higher quality products, plans to request a
dispute settlement panel at the WTO on Friday, the next formal
step in a dispute process which can lead to trade sanctions.
India, for its part, is investigating U.S. policies
supporting solar panel makers, a signal of possible retaliation
should the dispute escalate.
(Writing by Krista Hughes; Editing by Chris Reese)