President Obama Announces Actions to Address Climate Change
Earlier this week, President Obama announced a series of actions that the United States will take to address climate change, including by demonstrating leadership on this issue internationally. As part of the President’s action plan, USTR will work with our trading partners to launch negotiations at the World Trade Organization towards global free trade in environmental goods, including clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal. Currently, tariffs on these technologies can be as high as 35%, adding to their cost of deployment. We will build on the groundbreaking consensus USTR recently forged among the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, who pledged to liberalize trade in this important sector. In 2011, under U.S. leadership, APEC economies agreed to reduce tariffs to 5 percent or less by 2015 on a negotiated list of 54 environmental goods. This was an important first step, and the APEC list of goods agreed to in 2012 can serve as a foundation for a global agreement in the WTO, with participating countries expanding the scope by adding products of interest. Over the next year, we will work with interested WTO members towards negotiating an agreement to eliminate tariffs on environmental goods. Our goal will be to secure participation in this negotiation of countries that account for 90 percent of global trade in environmental goods, representing roughly $481 billion in annual environmental goods trade. We will also continue to work in the Trade in Services Agreement negotiations towards achieving free trade in environmental services, such as air pollution control services. For more information on the President’s Climate Action Plan, please visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/share/climate-action-plan.