WTO Members Fail to Wrap Up Green Goods Agreement

WTO headquarters in Geneva
WTO headquarters in Geneva

USCIB and other business groups expressed disappointment at the failure to conclude negotiations toward an international Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) among more than a dozen leading members of the World Trade Organization. A concluded agreement promised to free up trade in a wide variety of environmentally friendly goods and technologies.

“This is a missed opportunity, both for the environment and for the international trading system,” stated USCIB President and CEO Peter Robinson. “To business, it is clear that achieving greener growth depends on the widespread deployment of innovative technologies and management systems through more open trade and investment. These can help to address climate risks, improve food, water and energy security, and offer cleaner goods to consumers in developing countries. A conclusion of the EGA negotiations would have been a big step in that direction.”

The Coalition for Green Trade, of which USCIB is a leading member, issued a press release stating, in part: “The failure to conclude this deal represents a significant missed opportunity for the global economy, delaying positive contributions to job growth, innovation and environmental goals until a later date.”

According to Eva Hampl, USCIB’s director of trade and investment policy, who was onsite in Geneva for the conclusion of the talks, negotiations fell apart over a disagreement over product lists. “While we end the year without an agreement in hand, we are hopeful that the parties will resume negotiations in the near future,” said Hampl.

China had a number of unique concerns with respect to the types of goods to be covered by the EGA as well as some agreed-upon text provision. In the end, China failed to come to the table with a constructive proposal, in the face of a workable solution as presented by the Chair of the negotiations.

USCIB has worked closely with a variety of international partners to push for ambitious approaches to environmental challenges that take account of the unique contributions of the business community and the multilateral trading system. At the recent COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh, USCIB joined over 40 other business groups in a joint declaration of private-sector action on climate.

Staff Contact:   Alice Slayton Clark

Director, Investment, Trade and China
Tel: 202.682.0051

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