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Vol. 9 (2013)

Renewable Energy And The WTO: The Limits Of Government Intervention

James J. Nedumpara

This paper examines the role of the government in designing and supporting renewable energy programs and the compatibility of such interventions with various covered agreements of the World Trade Organisation (‘WTO’). The WTO treaty does not provide a special framework for renewable energy and a number of programs are susceptible to WTO challenges and domestic trade contingency measures. Of particular interest to developing countries such as India will be the availability of necessary policy space in fostering various renewable energy programs. This paper discusses the current treaty provisions of the WTO, especially the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (‘SCM Agreement’) and the Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (‘TRIMs Agreement’) and examines the extent of space in policy making available to various WTO Members across varying levels of development. In short, the paper seeks to examine the limits of WTO-consistent government intervention in the field of renewable energy.


Assistant Dean and Executive Director, Center for International Trade and Economic Laws, Jindal Global Law School, NCR of Delhi. India. The author may be reached at:

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