Ontario's promises WTO challenge

CANADA: Ontario has said it will fight back if the World Trade Organization (WTO) panel rules the province's local content rules under its renewable energy feed-in tariff program are discriminatory.

The World Trade Organization established a panel last year to hear a complaint from Japan, the US and the European Union about the rules, which require minimum domestic content levels of up to 50% for wind projects.

Georgina Kourakos, a spokesman for Ontario's energy ministry said: "It is our view that the feed-in-tariff program is consistent with Canada's WTO obligations. Should the panel disagree, we are ready to pursue all options with the federal government, including an appeal of the decision."

The Geneva-based International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development revealed details from a confidential interim report issued by the WTO in the case. It said Ontario's content requirements break non-discrimination rules in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures.

However, it said, the WTO has rejected the Japanese and EU argument that the rules amount to illegal subsidies.

The interim report was circulated to the parties in the case in September for comment, with a final ruling expected in November.

Kourakos would not respond specifically to the WTO findings. "It is not our practice to comment on confidential reports. Furthermore, this is an interim report."

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