Remarks by United States Trade Representative Michael Froman Announcing Enforcement Action with Regard to India
February 10, 2014
“Good afternoon. Thanks everybody for joining us. President Obama’s consistent focus has been on fostering growth, creating jobs, and strengthening the middle class. And that’s been our focus here at USTR as well.
“One of the ways we do that is by ensuring that American workers are not unfairly disadvantaged in the global marketplace – that there is a level playing field for American-made products and services overseas. To this end, the Obama Administration has expended tremendous efforts to enforce America’s trade rights— to bring home the full benefit of the rules and market access we have negotiated in our international trade agreements.
“Earlier today, we notified our Indian counterparts in New Delhi, Geneva, and Washington that the United States is challenging the domestic content requirements for solar power equipment imposed by India in ‘Phase II’ of its National Solar Mission. These domestic content requirements discriminate against U.S. exports by requiring solar power developers to use Indian-manufactured equipment instead of U.S. equipment. This kind of discrimination is against WTO rules, and we are determined to stand up for U.S. workers and businesses.
“Today’s action is also consistent with the Administration’s strong support for the rapid development of renewable energy around the world, including in India. Domestic content requirements detract from successful cooperation on clean energy and actually impede India’s deployment of solar energy by raising its cost.
“Today’s action follows our February 2013 challenge to domestic content requirements in ‘Phase I’ of India’s National Solar Mission. We hope that through these cases and other bilateral contacts, we will be able to dissuade India from continuing to impose domestic content requirements.
“Let me just say that when President Obama went to India in 2010, he noted that the U.S.-India relationship was one of a strategic partnership – and in fact, a defining partnership of the 21st century.
“We have a strong and growing trade and investment relationship with India, and we both remain committed to seeing that it achieves its full potential. An important part of any maturing trade relationship is effectively addressing the range of issues on our trade and investment agenda, including in areas where we might disagree. Today’s action addresses a specific issue of concern and in no way detracts from the importance we attach to this relationship.
“As the world knows, the United States is resolute in making sure that any and all of our trading partners play by the rules, and enforcing our rights when they don’t.
“Through this action – as with all of our enforcement actions – we are bringing to bear a whole-of-government commitment, through USTR and the Interagency Trade Enforcement Center, to stand up for our trade rights. We know that when we do, our workers and businesses can compete and win in the global economy.
“Thanks very much. With that, I’ll turn it over to USTR’s General Counsel Tim Reif to answer any questions you may have concerning this action.”