WTO appeal body backs Japan in dispute with Canada over green energy

The World Trade Organization's Appellate Body on Monday issued reports that broadly back the arguments made by Japan and the European Union over a Canadian province's preferential treatment for local businesses in promoting renewable energy.

The final ruling by the WTO confirms Japan's victory in the dispute that was largely acknowledged in a report in December by a dispute settlement panel of the organization. It is the first appellate ruling at the WTO on a dispute concerning renewable energy.

Japan brought the case to the WTO in September 2010, arguing that Japanese companies were treated unfairly over exports of photovoltaic panels.

The province of Ontario further raised domestic content requirement for solar power facilities subsequently. Japan then requested the WTO to open a dispute settlement panel in June 2011 over the issue. The EU followed.

In December, the WTO panel almost fully acknowledged the arguments by Japan the EU. All three parties in the dispute brought their cases to the appellate body.