Citing win over India, Obama goes aggressive on trade laws

Washington: Citing a win over India in a dispute challenging India’s “localisation” rules against US solar exports, President Barack Obama served notice that his administration would move aggressively to enforce trade laws.

“We can’t have other countries cheating. We can’t have other countries engaged in practices that disadvantage American workers and American businesses,” he said Wednesday before signing the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act into law.

Barack Obama Barack Obama “One of the things I am very proud of is that we have ramped up enforcement of our trade laws to protect American workers and American businesses like never before,” Obama said.

“We’ve brought more cases before the World Trade Organization, the WTO, than any other administration,” he said. “The ones that we’ve brought, we have won. In fact, we just won a case against India this week.”

Earlier briefing reporters, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also spoke of US victory in “a challenge to rules in India that discriminate against imported solar products.” “This represents a significant victory for the rapid deployment of solar energy across the world, but also for clean jobs right here in America,” he said.

It also represented, Earnest said, “the administration’s continuing emphasis on using all the tools at our disposal to hold our trading partners accountable.” A White House backgrounder said the “customs” legislation signed by Obama Wednesday “strengthens our tools for holding trading partners and foreign industries accountable on their obligations to trade fairly and openly.”

Cited among Obama administration’s “strong enforcement record” was another case “against India to end its illegal ban on US poultry and other agricultural products.”

Earlier Wednesday, the US Trade Representative announced that a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel had ruled in favour of the US in a dispute challenging New Delhi’s discrimination against US solar exports.

The panel agreed with the US that India’s “localisation” rules discriminated against imported solar cells and modules under India’s National Solar Mission, USTR Michael Froman said.