WTO Members Launch Talks on Environmental Goods

World Trade Organization (WTO)8 July 2014: Thirteen States and the EU, which together account for 86% of global trade in environmental goods, have announced the launch of plurilateral negotiations for an Environmental Goods Agreement under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The talks, which are open to any WTO Member, aim to break down trade barriers inhibiting the free trade of such goods as wind turbines, air quality monitors and solar panels.

The negotiations are expected to first focus on the elimination of customs duties and tariffs for various environmental goods. The list of 54 goods designated for tariff reductions under an agreement by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2012 will serve as the basis for the goods chosen in the current negotiations. Any agreement reached will be applied in accordance with the most-favored nation principle.

Negotiators involved in the talks expressed hope that they will promote green growth, sustainable development and a path toward concluding the WTO's Doha Round of trade and environment negotiations.

During a possible second phase, negotiators will likely turn to non-tariff barriers, such as bureaucratic and legal issues, and environmental services. Involved in the talks are Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong China, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Switzerland and the US. [WTO Press Release]