Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA)
Negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) began on July 8, 2014, among the United States, Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Chinese Taipei – together accounting for 86 percent of global trade in environmental goods. Israel and Turkey are also planning to join in 2015.
The Environmental Goods Agreement will build on the commitment that President Obama and other Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) made to reduce tariffs on a list of 54 environmental goods by the end of 2015, by taking the next step of eliminating tariffs on these 54 goods and expanding product coverage to include additional environmental technologies.
The WTO Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) Negotiations
In June 2016, Trade Ministers and senior officials from seven Environmental Goods Agreement members – Australia, Canada, the European Union, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and the United States – met in Paris to discuss progress in the negotiations and to chart a path toward successful conclusion later this year. This group has been working closely together with the aim of concluding an ambitious Environmental Goods Agreement with all participants ahead of when G20 Leaders meet in Hangzhou in September for the G20 Summit. The Trade Ministers and senior officials welcomed the significant progress that has been made over the 13 negotiating rounds held to date.
This includes recent efforts in smaller groups and different configurations to focus negotiations towards a potential Environmental Goods Agreement landing zone. The Ministers and senior officials reiterated their commitment to a high-standard, ambitious Environmental Goods Agreement that eliminates tariffs on a broad range of environmental goods, in the context of a future-oriented agreement. They committed to intensify their work together and with other Environmental Goods Agreement partners to successfully conclude the negotiations, and to find common ground on an Environmental Goods Agreement that will improve environmental protection, promote economic growth, and create green jobs, through an increase in global trade in environmental goods. The Ministers and senior officials encourage other WTO Members with a similar level of ambition and interest to join the Environmental Goods Agreement.
Learn about the Environmental Goods Agreements in the United States.
APEC List of Environmental Goods: Promoting Exports and Advancing Green Growth and Sustainable Development
On September 9, 2012, Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC Forum) agreed on a list of environmental goods on which, according to their 2011 pledge, they will cut tariffs to five percent or less by 2015. This marks the first time that trade negotiations have produced such a list of environmental goods for tariff cuts. This historic outcome will make a significant contribution to the Obama Administration’s goals to increase exports and jobs, as well as its strong commitment to promoting green growth and sustainable development.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Environmental Goods List
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation List of Environmental Goods includes 54 environmental goods, including such core products as:
- Renewable and clean energy technologies, such as solar panels, and gas and wind turbines, on which tariffs in the region are currently as high as 35 percent;
- Wastewater treatment technologies, such filters and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection equipment, on which tariffs in the region are currently as high as 21 percent;
- Air pollution control technologies, such as soot removers and catalytic converters, on which tariffs in the region are as high as 20 percent;
- Solid and hazardous waste treatment technologies, such as waste incinerators, and crushing and sorting machinery, on which tariffs in the region are currently as high as 20 percent; and
- Environmental monitoring and assessment equipment, such as air and water quality monitors, and manometers to measure pressure, and water delivery systems, on which tariffs in the region are currently as high as 20 percent.
The United States exported $27 billion of these environmental goods to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation region in 2011, of which $1.2 billion faced tariffs above five percent. Thus, the tariff cuts on these products will contribute importantly to President Obama’s National Export Initiative goal to double exports in five years.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation regional trade in the products on the APEC List of Environmental Goods in 2010 totaled $185 billion, and APEC makes up 60 percent of world exports of these products. Reducing tariffs on these environmental goods will help APEC businesses and citizens access important environmental technologies at lower cost, which in turn will produce environmental benefits and improve the quality of life and living standards of people across the Asia-Pacific region due to a cleaner environment. It will also contribute significantly to APEC’s core mission to promote free and open trade and investment, as embodied in the Bogor Goals.
The 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Statement and the APEC List of Environmental goods can be found on APEC’s website.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s History of Leadership on Environmental Goods
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation has a long history of leadership on promoting trade and investment in environmental goods, dating back to the 1990s. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s early work created a basic understanding of this dynamic sector and its importance to the region’s future trade and green growth objectives. It also added momentum to launch global negotiations to reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade in environmental goods and services as part of the World Trade Organization Doha Round negotiations. However, after a decade of tremendous efforts on the part of World Trade Organization Members to advance this work, and despite hundreds of product nominations, no consensus could be reached on a list of environmental goods in Geneva. Thus, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s agreement to cap tariffs at five percent or less based on this list of 54 products will not only support trade and investment and advance green growth objectives in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation region, it is also expected to contribute meaningfully to the World Trade Organization’s mission.