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NZ, Canada Welcome WTO Environmental Goods Talks

by Mary Swire,, Hong Kong

10 July 2014

New Zealand and Canada are to cut their import tariffs on a number of environmental goods as part of a multilateral trade pact being negotiated at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The negotiations were launched on July 8, 2014, by a group of members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

Pledging their commitment to the initiative will mean cutting environmental tariffs, which average 35 percent globally, to about 5 percent. For New Zealand, which exports significant quantities of such goods, like waste water management systems and environmental monitoring and assessment equipment, this will mean liberalizing market access for rival goods. However, it will support the nation's environmental goals by substantially lowering costs for consumers.

New Zealand Trade and Climate Change Minister Tim Groser said: "New Zealand is very pleased to be a part of this new initiative. Eliminating tariffs on goods that contribute to the protection of our environment is one of the most immediate and concrete contributions the WTO and its members can make to protect the environment and address climate change."

The initiative brings together 14 WTO members who collectively account for 86 percent of global trade in environmental goods. It will involve many of the world's largest economies, including the United States, China, the European Union, and Japan. The negotiations will be open to any WTO member committed to liberalization and ambition in promoting free trade in environmental goods.

"An ambitious outcome will also enable Kiwi businesses and innovators to benefit from improved access to a wide range of international markets for environmental goods. This includes some markets in which New Zealand does not have a free trade agreement," Groser added.

Canada's Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast, said: "An agreement on environmental goods will secure greater market access and create new jobs and opportunities for Canadian exporters across the country and lower the cost for consumers."

TAGS: environment | business | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | Australia | China | Norway | Singapore | Canada | Costa Rica | Hong Kong | New Zealand | Switzerland | United States | trade | Japan | Europe | Asia-Pacific

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