Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Local content was always there, my friend

For those who are following the domestic content requirements in renewable energy debate (I have blogged about it here, here and here), especially in the context of the Ontario Feed- in tariff case, a recent study highlights the universal use of domestic content requirements or local content requirements by countries in renewable energy programs around the world.

The study titled "Local Content Requirements and the Renewable Energy Industry - a Good Match? " by ICTSD is found here.

The paper concluded:
"Finally, as already emphasized at the beginning of this paper, further research is required to support a meaningful debate on this pressing issue. As indicated, to date there has been relatively little empirical analysis of the potential of LCRs being used in conjuncture with the creation of globally competitive innovators. This is especially the case for LCRs in RE policy. Econometric modelling of LCRs for RE growth is particularly needed. It is certain that many countries use LCRs in RE policies and that these schemes are often contradictory to WTO law. However, it is in the interest of neither the trade community, nor the green tech community, to have the necessary debate before the WTO Dispute Settlement System. Instead, there should be informed debate about what is effective, and what is agreed as appropriate, in the support of critically necessary green technology development."
A classic case of trade versus the environment? Or is there a need for a re-look at the trade rules itself? Or are they both compatible?

In another context, an interesting piece of the clash of policy goals of free trade, protection of the environment and geo-politics with respect to the dispute of Chinese solar panels imports into Europe.

All in all, trade and environment have a lot to sort out here.

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