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Shanghai -- G-20 Trade Ministers meeting in Shanghai, China reached agreement today on a package of outcomes covering WTO multilateral and plurilateral trade agreements and negotiations, investment, and cooperation on global value chains. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman hailed the results as a good example of G-20 leadership and shared goals in promoting global trade growth and public support for trade. In particular, the United States achieved strong results on plurilateral negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement and global excess capacity in key sectors, such as steel.
Ambassador Froman issued the following statement:
"G-20 trade ministers met this weekend and worked productively on a number of key trade issues. Most notably, ministers from countries participating in the environmental goods negotiation provided important political momentum for completing the Environmental Goods Agreement this year and identified a clear path to do so. Ministers agreed to finalize a landing zone by the G-20 leaders meeting in September in Hangzhou and to hold a final ministerial meeting to conclude the agreement before the end of the year.
"On excess capacity, the G-20 took an important step in the right direction by recognizing that excess capacity is a global issue. Building on recent U.S.-China bilateral commitments, the G-20 has added to the chorus of voices calling for tackling the root causes of excess capacity for the benefit of both developing and developed countries."
BACKGROUND ON EGA
The United States is working together with 16 other WTO Members to advance negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), which will eliminate tariffs on a wide range of green technologies, such as solar panels and water treatment technologies. G20 members here in Shanghai that are also EGA participants include: Australia, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Turkey and the United States.
Successful conclusion of the EGA will help to promote economic growth and environmental protection by making the technologies we need to reduce pollution more affordable and widely available.
The Coalition for Green Trade recently released a study titled "Value of an Environmental Goods Agreement: Helping China Meet Its Environmental Goals," that details the effects that the EGA would have on China's economy and its ability to meet its environmental goals. Specifically, the study finds that the EGA would increase China's GDP and national income by billions of dollars and result in gains for China of approximately $659 billion annually in economic benefits linked to improved environmental quality as a result of the costs savings achieved from an EGA.
The United States exported $130 billion of environmental goods in 2015, and U.S. exports of environmental goods have grown at an annual rate of four percent since 2010. Global trade in environmental goods is estimated at nearly $1 trillion annually, and some WTO Members charge tariffs as high as 35 percent on these goods, which can add to their cost of deployment significantly.