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U.S. worried at ‘Make in India’ rule

A cooperation agreement between India and the U.S. on “clean” or renewable energy, set to be one of the highlights of President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to India, has run into U.S. concerns over the government’s “Make in India” plan.

According to officials, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, during his visit to the Vibrant Gujarat summit, brought up the worries over the government’s push for use of indigenous technology, calling it the new “make in India law”.

In particular, sources told The Hindu , the U.S. administration is irked over the government’s announcement of a series of 1,000-MW “grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects” that has a “mandatory condition that all PV cells and modules used in solar plants set up under this scheme will be made in India.”

The announcement, made on December 18, came amid the ongoing dispute at the World Trade Organisation (WTO DISPUTE DS456), where the U.S. has complained against India over the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission’s domestic content requirement (DCR) for solar cells and solar modules in projects that it awards.

India maintains that U.S. subsidies on solar products threaten Indian manufacturers, and the domestic solar industry has accused the U.S. of “dumping cheap outdated technology” on India.

The WTO composed its panel in September 2014, but even as the matter over the UPA government’s “domestic content requirements” was being decided, the NDA’s emphasis on “Make in India” has raised new questions from the U.S. administration.

Speaking to The Hindu , Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal, who met Mr. Kerry in Gandhinagar, said he was confident of “ironing out the creases” with the U.S. officials, while maintaining that India was committed to its recently announced target of 1,00,000-MW solar power capacity by 2022.

“We are going ahead with our new renewable energy policy regardless of who will invest in it,” Mr. Goyal said.

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