Richard Blackwell, The Globe and Mail
Ontario has apparently lost a key trade challenge to its green energy policies that force companies to buy equipment from local manufacturers, according to reports out of Europe.
A reputable international trade newsletter said Monday the World Trade Organization has issued a preliminary report that agrees with Japan and the European Union, in their complaint about Ontario’s support for its renewable energy industry.
If the preliminary report stands, Ontario might have to dismantle parts of its controversial “feed-in-tariff” program that pays high prices to producers of wind and solar power, as long as they buy a certain proportion of their equipment in the province. The program was set up to try to encourage the development of a green-energy manufacturing sector in the province.
The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, based in Geneva, said it obtained a copy of a confidential interim WTO report, which was circulated to the parties in the case in September. A final ruling is expected in November, but the WTO seldom changes its decision from its preliminary reports.
According to the ICTSD, the WTO says the local content rules break non-discrimination rules in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. However, the WTO rejected the Japanese and EU argument that the local content rules amount to illegal subsidies. Read article