On September 17, 2014, the Coalition for Green Trade, co-chaired by the United States Council for International Business (USCIB), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), hosted an event on Capitol Hill to celebrate the launch of Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations under the purview of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva.
The event featured comments by United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Representative Dave Camp, and Representative Earl Blumenauer.
Chairman Wyden opened the event by saying, “[a]n ambitious environmental goods deal that brings down tariffs could make a real difference for American companies, American workers, and for the planet.” He expressed support for the EGA initiative, noting that “with hard work by Ambassador Froman and his team,” the global economy and the environment can each benefit from the agreement soon.
Ambassador Froman said that by facilitating trade in environmental goods, “we can promote technologies that allow better access to safe water, sanitation, and clean energy. We can encourage countries to adopt strategies for sustainable development and help drive innovation that could lead to even cleaner technologies.” He also explained that the EGA represents an effort to simultaneously grow the global economy and protect our environment. “When it comes to defending our environment, protectionism is no protection.”
The Coalition co-chairs introduced the various speakers and provided their own comments in support of these important negotiations. Rob Mulligan, USCIB’s senior vice president for policy and government affairs emphasized the hope for a swift outcome and an agreement that will serve as a platform to spur technological innovation. “The support of the business community in these negotiations is crucial to ensure an ambitious agreement that captures the full range of environmental technologies and products,” he said, noting that some of those products were on display at the back of the room.
General Electric, for example, displayed information on their E- and F-class gas turbines which convert natural gas into power in plants all over the world.
He also introduced two industry representatives: Timothy J. Regan, senior vice president of worldwide government affairs at Corning, and Joe McSwiney, president of Cascade Designs, who presented their respective technologies that stand to benefit from a successful agreement.
For further information on the EGA, please read USTR’s Fact Sheet. For further information regarding USCIB’s efforts on the EGA, please contact Eva Hampl, Director, Investment, Trade and Financial Services.