Vladivostok, Russia - United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk welcomed the significant outcomes from this week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting that will help promote economic and job growth for American workers and businesses. Specifically, APEC Ministers reached groundbreaking agreement on a list of environmental goods on which tariffs will be cut to 5 percent or less by 2015 - marking the first time that trade negotiations have produced a list of environmental goods for tariff cuts.
"This is an historic achievement. Currently, over $1 billion in U.S. environmental goods exports to the Asia-Pacific region face tariffs above 5 percent," said Deputy United States Trade Representative Ambassador Marantis, who represented United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk at the meeting in Vladivostok, Russia. "Tariff cuts on these environmental goods not only advance our green growth goals by making these environmental goods cheaper and more accessible, but also will have a meaningful impact on trade and job creation in the region."
The APEC List of Environmental Goods includes a wide range of core products in the sector, including renewable and clean energy technologies, wastewater treatment equipment, air pollution control technologies, and environmental monitoring and assessment equipment. Tariffs on some of these products in the region are currently as high as 35 percent.
In addition to environmental goods, APEC ministers agreed to a comprehensive approach to improve supply chain performance in the region, helping business to move their goods faster, easier, and cheaper. They also committed to begin work toward prevention of local content requirements in the region, further promote market-driven non-discriminatory innovation policy, and increase transparency and due process in APEC economies.
APEC economies also strongly endorsed the ongoing work of negotiations to expand the product coverage and membership of the WTO Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Ministers noted that a sucessful expansion of the ITA would provide a much-needed boost to the global economy and contribute to APEC's core mission to open markets and facilitate regional trade.
All of the outcomes achieved this week will help to expand export opportunities in the fastest growing region in the world and further demonstrate APEC's ability to come together to forge consensus on important and challenging issues.