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Environmental Goods Agreement

Promoting Made-in-America Clean Technology Exports, Green Growth and Jobs

The United States has been a leading advocate for liberalization of trade in environmental goods and services, such as wind turbines, water treatment filters, and solar water heaters.  By cutting tariffs on environmental goods, we can improve access to the technologies that the United States and other countries need to protect our environment, thus lowering the costs of environmental protection, while unlocking opportunity for U.S. exporters and spurring innovation in green technologies. 

Global trade in environmental goods is estimated at nearly $1 trillion annually, and growing fast.  The United States exported $106 billion of environmental goods in 2013, and U.S. exports of environmental goods have been growing at an annual rate of eight percent since 2009.  U.S. tariffs on environmental goods are already low; however, other countries charge tariffs as high as 35 percent on these goods.  By eliminating tariffs, we can help level the playing field for U.S. manufacturers and workers – supporting good green jobs. 

President Obama called for global free trade in environmental goods in his Climate Action Plan, and USTR is working with the world’s major traders of environmental goods to negotiate an agreement in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to eliminate tariffs on these products. 

Negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) began on July 8, 2014, among the United States, Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland and Chinese Taipei – together accounting for 86 percent of global trade in environmental goods.  Israel and Turkey are also planning to join in 2015.

The EGA will build on the commitment that President Obama and other Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) made to reduce tariffs on a list of 54 environmental goods by the end of 2015, by taking the next step of eliminating tariffs on these 54 goods and expanding product coverage to include additional environmental technologies.  While the EGA’s product coverage is still under negotiation, the United States is seeking inclusion of a broad set of environmental technologies, including those related to:

Renewable and Clean Energy Generation
For example, solar panels, and gas and wind turbines.  The global market for renewable and clean energy technologies has been growing rapidly in recent years, with world trade in this sector tripling from 2002-2012.  Tariffs on these products can be as high as 35%.

Air Pollution Control
For example, soot removers and carbon dioxide scrubbers.  Some WTO members apply tariffs as high as 20% on these technologies, which play an essential role in reducing harmful emissions and improving public health.

Water and Wastewater Treatment
For example, ultraviolet disinfection and desalination equipment.  The United States is a leading producer of water and wastewater treatment technologies, with exports growing at an average rate of 10% annually.  Tariffs on these products can be as high as 21%.

Solid and Hazardous Waste Treatment
For example, recycling equipment and composting systems.  Access to technologies that manage waste safely and sustainably create economic opportunity while helping to maintain a healthy environment.  Tariffs on these products can be as high as 20%.

Environmental Monitoring and Analysis
For example, air and water quality monitors.  Such equipment is essential to companies and municipalities in meeting environmental performance standards, as well as measuring the energy and water consumption of households and organizations.  Tariffs on these products can be as high as 20%.