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Progress Made On 'Green Goods' Trade Treaty

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

05 December 2016

The World Trade Organization members negotiating an agreement to cut duties and tariffs on trade in environmentally friendly goods were said to have made progress in their latest round of talks, although a final deal appears to be some way off.

A total of 18 WTO participants in the talks, representing 46 WTO members, met in Geneva at the weekend to continue their work towards liberalizing trade on a range of important environmental goods. According to the WTO, while "constructive progress" was made towards an agreement, the participants were "not in a position to close the existing gaps at this point."

"The intensive discussions set the stage for further talks in the near future," the WTO said.

Commenting after the latest round of negotiations, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said: "Participants negotiated in good faith and made good progress towards an agreement. I believe that the knowledge and understanding gained in these discussions will help us to move forward in the near future. I urge participants to show whatever flexibility they can to help conclude the deal."

The Environmental Goods Agreement initiative was originally built on a commitment made by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries to reduce import tariffs on environmental goods to five percent or less. The APEC list extended to 54 goods, but was intended to be expanded as more products promoting energy efficiency were developed or identified. The WTO list includes, for example, solar water heaters, wind turbines, water treatment filters, and catalytic converters.

TAGS: environment | energy | tariffs | trade | Asia-Pacific

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