As the date for the Panel Report on the Feed-in tariff program of Canada's Ontario province nears, local editorial opinion seems to be veering around to an acceptance of the verdict and amendment of local law to be compliant to the WTO ruling.I have blogged about this issue here and here
The Globe and Mail, one of the main newspapers in Canada in this editorial, called for the repealing of the provisions of the Green Energy Act that were in contravention of WTO law. It opined that Canada should not insist on an appeal (which they are entitled to do) but should accept the Panel finding int he interests of renewable energy.
"Canada should not waste time on an appeal. Instead, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (now unfortunately prorogued) should repeal the local-content aspects of the Green Energy and Green Economy Act. There is quite enough in the rest of that statute to satisfy the departing Premier, Dalton McGuinty, that he will leave a legacy that accelerates the growth of renewable energy."
Whether interests of renewable energy or interests of local producers would ultimately prevail is a different issue.However, the equating of sourcing of renewable energy products from across the globe as against just locally manufactured ones in the interests of renewable energy and the environment is point to be taken note of.
Two comments to the editorial, both criticizing the editorial views, caught my attention:
"Unbridled free trade turns the world economy into a ship with no watertight doors between the compartments. A disaster anywhere turns into a disaster everywhere."and
"Considering that the WTO ruling in question has not yet been publicly released (and in any event will be non-binding on Ontario), the Globe's editorial board is clearly letting its own free-market biases trump any pretense of informed and objective journalism.
But regular readers will have noticed that already."
Issues of local content, government procurement, applicability of the general exceptions under Article XX GATT and the existence of a prohibited or actionable subsidy need to be analyzed in the WTO dispute settlement process.
Let us just wait for the WTO Panel report, shall we?