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Sustainable Energy Trade Initiative: International negotiations to eliminate tariffs on “environmental goods” like PV panels, solar water heaters


Jul 9, 2014 -

PV panels are part of the environmental goods to be excluded from tariffs

Officials from 14 governments met in Geneva on July 8th, 2014 announced the launch of international negotiations that will aim to eliminate tariffs on “environmental goods” – products like wind turbines, solar thermal water heaters, filters for wastewater treatment, and solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, the Sustainable Energy Trade Initiative (SETI Alliance) reports.

The governments involved in the talks represent Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United States.


Urgent action to address environmental protection, climate change

In a joint statement, the governments noted that “urgent action” is needed to address challenges such as environmental protection and climate change.

“We will now engage in intensive negotiations, meeting regularly in Geneva, to discuss the substance of the agreement, including product coverage,” the joint statement said. “We are committed to work towards the timely and successful conclusion of the agreement.”

The statement added that an environmental goods deal could be extended to all members of the WTO if a “critical mass” of the organization’s members agrees to participate.


List of 54 environmental goods agreed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

The first stage of the talks, which officials say they aim to conclude by the end of 2015, will focus on eliminating tariffs on environmental goods. To that end, the negotiations will build on a list of 54 environmental goods that was agreed by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2012. Subsequent negotiating rounds may tackle more complicated topics like environmental services, non-tariff barriers, and government procurement.


Breakthrough in international trade negotiations on environmental goods to become cheaper and more accessible

“By eliminating tariffs on the technologies we all need to protect our environment, we can make environmental goods cheaper and more accessible for everyone, making essential progress toward our environmental protection and trade policy goals,” said Peter Froman, the US Trade Representative.

Peter C. Brun, Managing Director of the SETI Alliance, also welcomed the announcement.

“An early breakthrough in international trade negotiations on environmental goods would serve as an important signal to the world of the need to remove unnecessary barriers to trade in the technologies that are meant to deliver important and affordable climate change solutions,” he said.

Additional information: List of 54 environmental goods that was agreed by the APEC forum.


2014-07-09 | Courtesy: SETI Alliance; Image: RGS Energy | © Heindl Server GmbH

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