Business / Economy

China explores ways to liberalize trade in 'green' goods

By Lucie Morangi ( Updated: 2015-12-18 17:28

China is among 45 countries exploring ways of liberalizing trade in environmental goods.

According to a statement released by Australia's Minister for Trade and Investment and the Chair of the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) Andrew Robb, considerable progress has been achieved in 11 rounds of negotiations over 18 months.

He said that the member countries have built up a broad list of possible EGA products and have started nominating the products they would like to see included in the agreement. Also forwarded are detailed explanations of the technologies involved and the environmental rationale behind them.

According to Robb, the members have been working to refine a list of 600 nominations. "There has been a high degree of convergence in many areas," he said. Custom officials have provided significant input, helping to ensure that the products on the final list are environmentally credible and that the agreement is implementable and workable once it is put to the test at the border points.

Robb said the negotiations wish to capitalize on the positive atmosphere and momentum that has characterizes the EGA negotiations to date. "Members will re-engage in 2016 to continue in the path towards a positive conclusion."

Aiming at creating a "win-win-win" situation, EGA is working towards liberalizing trade in environmental goods to encourage the use of environmental friendly technologies, which in turn will stimulate innovation and technology transfer.

Negotiations were formally launched in Geneva in July 2014 following a proposal by 14 World Trade Organization (WTO) members in Davos, Switzerland, in January the same year. The initiative followed a similar positive initiative in APEC in 2012-13.

Besides China, other EGA members are Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, United States, the European Union members (28), Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland and Turkey.

The agreement is negotiated in line with WTO rules and the members hope to make it future-oriented, to be able to address other issues in the sector in response to changes in technologies in the years to come.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) 10th Ministerial meeting is taking place in Nairobi, Kenya. The conference started on Dec 15 and will run up to 18.

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