In January of this year, a group of14 countries made an announcement in Davos of their intention to negotiate a trade agreement on “green goods”. The mandate is about eliminating bound import tariffs on environmental goods, building on a list of 54 environmental goods agreed upon by APEC a few years ago. The agreement will grant a “most-favoured nation-treatment”, meaning that the tariff concessions will be extended to all members of the WTO, irrespective of if they are part of the Green Goods Initiative.
In their statement, the countries refer to a “future oriented agreement able to address other issues in the sector and to respond to changes in technologies in the years to come”, which has been interpreted to constitute an opening towards eventually addressing other significant barriers such as restrictions to trade in services but also subsidies, standards or local content requirements.
Whereas the announcement refers to environmental goods, the emphasis on climate change clearly indicates the intention to address clean energy and other climate-friendly technologies.
In consultation with the 14 countries, ICTSD hosted a public event in Geneva on the Green Goods Initiative. The purpose of the ICTSD Dialogue was to raise awareness among the trade constituency in Geneva and beyond about the Green Goods Initiative and the potential it holds to effectively address climate change by prioritizing clean energy technologies and other climate-friendly goods. The event involved voices from business, academia and government, and strived to stimulate an open and constructive conversation, in support of the upcoming trade negotiation.