Washington, DC – U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab
announced today that the United States and EU have submitted a ground-breaking
proposal as part of the Doha Round negotiations to increase global trade in and
use of environmental goods and services. The initiative would place
priority action on technologies directly linked to addressing climate change and
"WTO Members have an unprecedented opportunity to address
in a concrete and meaningful way the global environmental challenge of climate
change,” said Ambassador Schwab. “By eliminating tariff and non-tariff
barriers to environmental goods and services, particularly clean energy
technologies, we can lower their costs and increase global access to and use of
these important products.”
The proposal lays the foundation for an innovative new
environmental goods and services agreement (EGSA) in the WTO and would include a
commitment by all WTO Members to remove barriers to trade to a specific set of
climate-friendly technologies. The initiative was prompted by President
Bush’s initiative earlier this year to seek an agreement with major economies on
a new international climate agreement. The proposal underscores the
importance of liberalizing trade in environmental goods and services in parallel
by recognizing, for the first time, how the market works in this sector – how
goods are bundled with services. For example, designing more energy
efficient buildings can require consulting, design and construction services, as
well as solar panels for heating.
The United States, joined by the European Union, proposes
to eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers to environmental technologies and
services through a two-tiered approach: 1) A first-ever in the WTO
agreement on worldwide elimination of tariffs on a specific list of climate
friendly technologies recently identified by the World Bank; and 2) A higher
level of commitment on the part of developed and the most advanced developing
countries to eliminate barriers to trade across a broader range of other
environmental technologies and an array of environment-friendly services.
Global trade in the environmental goods covered by the U.S. and EU proposal totaled
approximately $613 billion in 2006, and global exports of these goods have grown
annually by an average of 15 percent since 2000.
WTO Members currently charge duties as high as 70 percent
on certain environmental goods, impeding access to and use of these important
technologies. A recent World Bank study on climate and clean energy
technologies suggests that by removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to key
technologies, trade could increase by an additional 7-14 percent annually.
A corresponding increase in use of such technologies and services could
contribute importantly to global efforts to address climate change and energy
security. The World Bank report also concludes that liberalizing trade in
these technologies could facilitate more high-end technology investment.
According to separate 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.
A summary of the proposal is available at