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Canada to appeal WTO green energy ruling

Today’s Globe & Mail reports the World Trade Organization decision released yesterday held that Ontario breached its obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) because the local content requirements essentially treat imported equipment and components differently than domestic products. Ontario requires companies selling FIT energy into the Province’s grid to source a proportion of their equipment and services in Ontario.

The complaints to the WTO were from Japan and the European Union. Because the WTO deals only with nations, the complaint and finding were against Canada, who will appeal at Ontario’s request.

Bentley, the Ontario Energy Minster, said through a spokesperson that Ontario’s position has always been that the FIT programme is consistent with Canada’s obligations.

The Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada said he would advise the next Premier to ignore the ruling.

An international trade lawyer with a downtown Toronto law firm frequently quoted by the Globe & Mail said that the ruling will damage Ontario’s efforts to build up domestic renewable energy product makers even if the appeal is successful, as no-one is going to commit capital to a project while the appeal is pending… “…(the ruling) blows out of the water a lot of the underpinnings of the Green Energy Act…”.

The appeal will likely take many months.

Garth Manning
Chair, County Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Green Energy (CSAGE)

Filed Under: Letters and Opinion

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