USTR Hosts Public Hearing on the WTO Environmental Goods Agreement

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) held a public hearing on World Environment Day, Thursday, June 5, to gather comments and input on U.S. negotiating objectives for the World Trade Organization (WTO) Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA).  The United States, Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, and Chinese Taipei are preparing to negotiate the agreement to eliminate tariffs on environmental goods such as solar water heaters, wind turbines, and catalytic converters.  These countries together represent 86 percent of global trade in environmental goods.  Increased trade in environmental goods is a key part of both the President’s Climate Action Plan and U.S. leadership in global trade and environmental policy.  By eliminating tariffs on environmental goods, we can make them cheaper and more accessible for everyone, while leveling the playing field for U.S. exporters.

EGA hearingAn interagency panels hears witness testimonies on the World Trade Organization Environmental Goods Agreement

During the hearing, a panel of government officials from the U.S. Trade Representative’s office, Environment Protection Agency , and the U.S. Departments of State,  Commerce, and Homeland Security heard testimony from six witnesses on the potential environmental and economic impacts of liberalizing trade in  environmental goods.  The witnesses also recommended a wide range of products for inclusion in the EGA.  The testimony and written submissions from interested stakeholders provide useful input on how the negotiations can advance U.S. environmental objectives and support economic growth, green jobs, and innovation.  A full list of the witnesses can be seen here.

In 2013, the United States exported $106 billion of environmental goods.  Global trade in environmental goods totals nearly a trillion dollars annually, but some countries apply tariffs as high as 35 percent, adding unnecessary costs to  the environmental technologies needed to protect the environment.

For the text of the joint Environmental Goods Agreement announcement, please click here. Public submissions for the Environmental Goods Agreement can be viewed online , Docket number USTR-2014-0004.

To view a video of the hearing, please see visit the USTR Youtube page here.