Green Goods Agreement

Posted on: 02/02/2016

The Green Goods agreement, to give it its real name the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), is aiming to remove barriers to trade in environmental or "green" goods that are crucial for environmental protection and climate change mitigation so yes this will have some impact on your business.  The EGA negotiations were formally launched in Geneva on 8 July 2014 and since then the EU and 16 other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been working on the list of goods that will be covered by the EGA.  The aim is to remove tariffs (customs duty) on a broad list of environmental goods.  (For comparison see the APEC list of goods).  At this stage, only some WTO members have chosen to take part in the talks. This is why they are described as 'plurilateral'. Once a critical mass is reached to get an agreement, the benefits of this plurilateral initiative will be applied to all WTO members using the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle. Ideally, the agreement would be made part of the package of WTO agreements so other WTO members could open up their markets.  It was hoped that an agreement could have been reached at the WTO Conference in Nairobi in December 2015 but that didn’t happen.

Eleven negotiating rounds so far had produced a broad list of products, and while the EGA’s product coverage is still under negotiation they are hoping for agreement on around 300 products which will be identified by Harmonised System code (HS) designations.  Look out for the definitive list being published in the second half of 2016.  For your information the goods being looked at are broadly in the following categories.  Products that

·        helping clean the air and water, e.g. carbon dioxide scrubbers

·        helping manage waste, e.g. recycling machinery

·        contributing to energy efficiency, e.g. heat pumps, thermostats, insulation materials, thermometers

·        controlling air pollution, e.g. measuring equipment

·        surveying instruments

·        certain enzymes

·        generating renewable energy such as solar, wind, or hydroelectric, e.g. wind turbines, solar panels including components such as bearings, gearboxes and polysilicon

The 17 countries involved in the current negotiations are

Australia

Canada

China

Costa Rica

Chinese Taipei

European Union (28 MS)

Hong Kong (China)

Iceland

Israel

Japan

South Korea

New Zealand

Norway

Switzerland

Singapore

Turkey

United States of the America

Further information

EU LINK

USA LINK

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