A crucial ruling from the World Trade Organization, expected as early as this week, could force a dramatic rethink of Ontario’s green energy policies.
The WTO will decide whether to side with complaints from Japan and the European Union that insist Ontario’s “local content” rules breach international trade law. Those rules force firms that sell premium-priced renewable energy to the province to buy a proportion of their equipment and services in Ontario. The policy, part of the province’s Green Energy Act passed in 2009, was designed to try to create a 21st-century manufacturing sector with an emphasis on renewable technology."
WIll the WTO decision force a rethink across the world about support for local content in renewable energy projects? Will mandating local content become taboo or will countries continue to implement local content programs? Will the issue of whether mandating or incentivizing local content being a prohibited subsidy (subsidy contingent on the use of local over imported goods) under Article 3 of the ASCM also be settled in the decision? Is this going to be a long drawn battle which will go upto the Appellate and compliance stage like the Airbus-Boeing Subsidies case that has engaged the dispute settlement mechanism for more than seven years now?
Over to the Panel now for a decision.