WTO Stocktaking Week Reviews EGS Negotiations

26 March 2010: The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Negotiations Committee meeting took place from 22-26 March 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. This stocktaking week on the status of the Doha negotiations evaluated progress in negotiations on environmental goods and services (EGS).

Despite slow progress in the Doha Round, Pascal Lamy, WTO Director General, noted that "everyone is still very much committed to the mandate of the Round and to its successful conclusion." Manuel A. J. Teehankee, Chair of the WTO's Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment, addressed the Trade Negotiations Committee on 22 March, listing the areas that require further attention in order to complete the mandate of paragraph 31 of the Doha Declaration (trade and environment). On the relationship between existing WTO rules and trade-related measures in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), he said conclusions fall within five main clusters: the importance of national coordination to enhance mutual support; options on how to reflect discussions in an outcome document; dispute settlement or legal principles; technical assistance to developing country members; and general principles. He indicated that further dedicated discussions will be held on these five clusters, in an effort to move to text-based negotiations.

Regarding procedures for regular information exchange between MEA Secretariats and the WTO, and granting of observer status, he noted consensus exists and said text-based consultations will take place on this topic. Finally, on the liberalization of trade in EGS, he said the approach to define the universe of goods and services covered still remain open, with options ranging from adopting an agreed set of environmental goods, undertaking a request-offer process to reduce tariffs to these products, or providing concessions for goods used in environmental projects, like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). He called on members to review what is on the table and make further specific proposals. [Podcast]