Environmental trade agreement will not be concluded this year

The 18th round of negotiations between certain members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) for an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) took place from November 26 to December 2, 2016 in Geneva.

Global Affairs Canada reports that “participants held discussions on product coverage and the EGA text in various configurations. Following a plenary review of the most sensitive products, the Chair of the EGA negotiations recast the landing zone list by dividing goods into two categories: those products having a solid chance of gaining wide agreement and those products for which the most significant differences remain.

Immediately after the round, trade ministers and senior officials from the 18 EGA participants met in Geneva on December 3-4 to discuss the EGA negotiations. Constructive talks were held and progress was made, but participants were not in a position to close the existing gaps. Ministers and senior officials acknowledged that further work is necessary and reiterated their shared commitment to concluding the EGA.”

The 18 participants representing 46 WTO members account for most of the global trade in environmental goods. Since January 2014, they have been engaged in negotiations to slash duties on products used in a variety of environmentally-related functions including: generating clean and renewable energy; improving energy and resource efficiency; reducing air, water and soil pollution; managing solid and hazardous waste; noise abatement; and monitoring environmental quality.

The EGA participants are Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union (representing Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom), Hong Kong, China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and the United States.

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