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China makes positive contributions to WTO negotiation on environmental products: Vice Minister

Updated: 2016-12-06 10:49

GENEVA - Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said on Monday in an interview with Xinhua that China made positive contribution in order to break the impasse last weekend during WTO's ministerial meeting on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).

During the meeting held Saturday and Sunday at WTO headquarters here, 18 WTO members made progress but failed to close the existing gaps to reach a consensus on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), a trade facilitation agreement seeking to eliminate or reduce tariffs on a number of important environment-related products.

Wang, head of the Chinese delegation to the meeting, said that the EGA negotiating chair -- Australian Andrew Martin -- had presented a product list just before the ministerial meeting, but the list failed to reflect the balance of interests of all participants and was unable to form the basis for negotiation, putting the discussions into an impasse.

Wang recalled that the co-chairs of the ministerial meeting, the United States and the European Union, presented another product list Sunday morning, which also failed to gain consensus, due to huge differences of views among participants.

"In order to break this impasse, China made tremendous efforts in presenting a third product list within two hours, which demonstrated China's flexibility and served to address the core concerns of all participants," Wang said.

"Despite lack of consensus over China's list, the overwhelming majority of participants expressed their appreciation to the efforts made by China in this regard," he stressed, adding that "participants have indicated their willingness to continue their work next year, in order to reach a meaningful and balanced EGA."

The 18 participants, including China, the United States, the European Union, Japan and Korea, account for most of the global trade in environmental goods.

Since January 2014, they have been engaged in negotiations to slash duties on products used in a variety of environmentally-related functions.

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