Washington, DC – The US and 13 other WTO member nations have launched negotiations on the proposed Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The EGA aims to eliminate tariffs on environmental technologies that can be as high as 35 percent and, says US Trade Representative Michael Froman, “pose a significant barrier to trade for US companies.”
The EGA negotiations will build on a list of 54 environmental goods on which APEC – Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation – leaders agreed to reduce tariffs to five percent or less by the end of 2015, and will explore a wide range of additional products.
The APEC list includes a variety of environmental technologies used in a number of environmental applications including renewable and clean energy generation such as solar panels and gas and wind turbines; wastewater treatment; air pollution control; solid and hazardous waste treatment; and environmental monitoring and assessment.
In addition to the US, Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Taiwan are participating in the negotiations.
The countries involved in the talks generate fully 86 percent, about $1 trillion, of global trade in environmental goods annually.
US exports of environmental goods totaled $106 billion last year and have been growing at an annual rate of eight percent since 2009, according to the US Department of Commerce.
“By eliminating tariffs on the technologies we all need to protect our environment, we can make environmental goods cheaper and more accessible for everyone,” Froman said.