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The Canadian province of Ontario has been charged with violating World Trade Organization rules through its domestic content tariffs.
The European Union and Japan brought its complaint of alleged Ontarian prejudice against foreign solar developers to the WTO last year. The countries claimed Ontario’s domestic content requirement was in violation of the General Agreements of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as well at the Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs).
However, the EU and Japan also asserted Ontario’s feed-in tariff programme violated international trading laws, but the WTO ruled against this allegation stating that Canada has instead acted inconsistently with regards to subsidies rather than illegally. The WTO has recommended that Canada put its house in order and bring its measures into conformity with its obligations under the TRIMs Agreement and the GATT 1994 to offer indiscriminate subsidies.
The province has two separate feed-in tariffs for solar PV projects of 10kW and 10MW. Its domestic content requirement was increased last year to 60% on 1 January 2011.
The Ontarian government aims to have over 10GW of installed capacity in renewable energy (wind, solar and bioenergy) by 2030.