Washington, DC –
U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman announced today the United States has
submitted new proposals to increase market access for environmental goods and
improve disciplines on fisheries subsidies. The United States has submitted
these proposals to advance WTO negotiations aimed at improving environmental
stewardship and expanding economic opportunities.
"Eliminating tariffs and non-tariff barriers to environmental goods will
result in greater access for, and lower the cost of, technologies and products
that support governments’ environment and development goals, such as improved
sanitation and reduced air pollution," said Ambassador Portman. "The U.S.
proposals underscore our commitment to trade policies that promote clean air and
water and wise management of natural resources."
The United States, joined by six other WTO Members (Canada, the European
Communities, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, and Switzerland), introduced a
proposal today that would eliminate tariffs on environmental products, such as
solar panels and wind turbines, and addresses non-tariff barriers to these
Global trade in the environmental goods covered by the U.S. proposal totalled
approximately $400 billion in 2004. WTO Members charge duties as high as 70
percent on some environmental goods, impeding access to these important
technologies. By reducing the prices of environmental goods through substantial
reduction or elimination of import tariffs and specific non-tariff barriers,
such as customs delays, WTO Members can improve access to products needed to
prevent pollution and meet their sustainable development goals.
According to data on environmental indicators available from the World Bank
and World Resources Institute, countries that trade more environmental goods
either have less pollution or consume energy more efficiently, or both.
In addition to the proposal to improve trade flows in environmental goods,
the United States submitted proposed text for discussion this week in the WTO
fisheries subsidies negotiations. The proposed text addresses two key issues in
the negotiations: how government programs to remove excess fishing capacity
should be treated in the context of stronger rules; and how to enhance effective
coordination between the WTO and other international organizations with
fisheries expertise, such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The U.S.
submission builds on previous efforts by the United States to seek new WTO rules
that prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to over-capacity and
Both proposals are available at www.ustr.gov.
 United Nations Merchandise Trade.
 "Tariffs and Trade in Environmental Goods" by Mr. Robert Teh and Mr.
Bijit Bora is available at the WTO website (www.wto.org).