Environmental goods trade liberalization talks begin
The United States, along with a dozen other trading partners, has started negotiations to liberalize trade in environmental goods.
“The global challenges we face, including environmental protection and climate change, require urgent action,” said the Office of the U.S Trade Representative in a statement Tuesday. “We will now engage in intensive negotiations, meeting regularly in Geneva, to discuss the substance of the agreement, including product coverage. We are committed to work towards the timely and successful conclusion of the agreement.”
In addition to the United States, the other trading partners involved in the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations include Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan.
The USTR said the partners are “committed to work together and with other WTO members similarly committed to liberalization that are interested in joining our ambitious efforts. We are convinced that this WTO initiative will strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, support its mission to liberalize trade, provide important impetus to the DDA negotiations and benefit all WTO members, including by involving all major traders and applying the principle of Most Favored Nation, once a critical mass of members agree to participate.”
Industry officials are optimistic about the start of the EGA talks.
“The green goods initiative is a chance to show how trade policies can address a pressing global challenge and improve environmental outcomes,” said Jake Colvin, vice president for global trade issues at the National Foreign Trade Council. “While eliminating tariffs is often thought of as a concession in trade agreements, this initiative provides an opportunity to flip that thinking. Countries who join up and agree to cut tariffs will lower the cost of adopting green technologies.
“The EGA is also a chance to demonstrate that the World Trade Organization can serve as a nimble forum to negotiate new trade commitments that benefit business and the global good."
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