What Is the Environmental Goods Agreement

On the U.S. side, in the final months of its mandate, the Obama administration tried to conclude the deal quickly, which some experts considered too much and too quickly. When the talks broke down, the Trump administration took office. The Trump administration has never formulated a clear position on the EGA negotiations and has refused to play a leading role in the ongoing WTO negotiations. Given the complications of Chinese demands, the general lack of agreement on which products to cover, and a gap in U.S. leadership, very little progress was made between 2016 and 2021, and optimism about a resumption of negotiations was limited. In addition, other pressing issues, such as fisheries subsidies and the Dispute Settlement Body, have played an increasingly important role in the WTO system, meaning that Member States may have less room to focus on resuming negotiations on the Europe Agreement. These include products ranging from thermostats to polysilicon for solar panels. The EU definition highlights the growing urgency to tackle climate change and mentions renewable energy much more explicitly than the OECD definition. Nevertheless, the marked differences between the points classified as “environment” highlight fundamental problems in the way countries deal with the relevant definitions of goods. Despite the growing urgency to combat climate change and the recognition by WTO Member States that trade policy can play a key role in achieving positive environmental change, several outstanding issues complicate the resumption of negotiations on the OTT exemption agreement, including problems of definition, the reluctance of the Chinese to engage seriously, the lack of urgency on the part of the United States. and the limited scope of the negotiations of the exemption agreement under international law, all of which have been described above.

First, there are still problems in defining environmental goods. Parties to negotiations with major differences are unlikely to easily resolve these differences in new rounds of negotiations. For example, it`s hard to imagine a scenario in which China and the U.S. agree to abolish tariffs on solar panels, but a European deal that doesn`t cover solar panels would likely face credibility issues. An agreement to abolish normal tariffs, but where countries would still have the right to impose anti-dumping/countervailing duties in the event of unfair trade practices, would solve the problem from a trade policy perspective, but would make solar panels more expensive and thus prevent the growth of their installation. Green growth is an essential element of the EU`s economic and environmental policy. Open trade in environmental goods and services can help further develop green growth. The EU is working to liberalise trade in environmental goods and services multilaterally within the World Trade Organisation and its free trade agreements. It also endeavours to ensure that existing rules are applied. On 24 January 2014, the EU, together with 13 other WTO members, committed to open negotiations to liberalise global trade in environmental goods (see Davos Declaration and EU press release). The EGA negotiations were officially launched in Geneva on 8 July 2014 (see the joint statement of all countries involved in the green goods negotiations, the EU press release and listen to the press conference). The start of negotiations was accompanied by an event organized by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.

The European Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU. It bases its work on the instructions given to it by EU Member States in the Council in 2001 to negotiate wto discussions on the Doha Development Agenda. The 8. In May 2014, the Council issued further instructions to the Commission to negotiate the Europe Agreement. The European Commission has launched a Sustainability Assessment (SIA) of the Environmental Goods Agreement to assess its economic, social and environmental impacts. Environmental goods and services in the EU The EU has technologically advanced and world-class companies providing environmental goods and services. Between 2002 and 2011, the number of jobs in the “green sector” in the EU increased from 3 to 4.2 million full-time jobs. Even during the recession years (2007-2011), employment increased by 20%. Fourth, the United States should abandon the structure of the ITA for progressive tariff reductions and provide that all tariffs will be reduced to zero immediately after the entry into force of the agreement. Climate change is an existential threat, and an immediate reduction in tariffs would accelerate the use of technologies to mitigate climate change.

Moreover, such an agreement would signal to the world that the WTO is an international forum capable of producing agreements that have immediate implications. Who participates? Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Chinese Taipei, European Union, Hong Kong (China), Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, United States, Israel, Turkey and Iceland. Together, these countries account for the largest share of global trade in environmental goods. Secondly, the table is based on six-digit HTS codes, which offers some advantages and disadvantages. Six-digit HTS codes are general categories, meaning that an agreement to liberalize tariffs on a six-digit code would include a greater number of goods than a more specific HTS number, e.B a 10- or 12-digit code. If the goal of an agreement is to liberalize tariffs on as many goods as possible – especially if it operates within the already stricter parameters proposed in this document – then pursuing a six-digit code for negotiations would be the easiest and most goods. However, if you rely on six-digit codes, negotiators have to deal with ex-outs. The exceptions for HTS codes also specify which products in each HS-6 category are treated as harmful to the environment and are therefore subject to the tariff reductions provided for in the Definitive Agreement. For example, the table contains HTS code 4418.72 for carpentry and woodworking. It would be up to government officials and negotiators to further specify the relevant ex-outs, which in this case could include bamboo products, as bamboo is more environmentally friendly than wood harvested from old-growth forests.

In other words, by including bamboo as an ex-out, negotiators would agree to liberalize tariffs only on bamboo wood products and not on wood products that are considered more polluting. Since outputs are not always the most efficient way to identify environmental goods in broader HTS codes, the HTS system should be updated to better reflect new technologies, such as electric vehicles and gasoline vehicles with their own 6-digit HTS line to better facilitate tariff claims. If discussions are initiated with six-digit codes as a basic framework, negotiators should work on other specifications and aim to conclude an agreement with greater specificity, for example by using 10-digit HTS codes, which would eliminate the need to negotiate ex-outs. .