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Joint Statement : UK supports announcement at WTO to launch negotiations to liberalise trade in environmental goods

Ministerial Statement for launch of Green Goods Initiative.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

World Trade Organization

World Trade Organization in Geneva

Earlier this year, the representatives of Australia; Canada; China; Costa Rica; the European Union; Hong Kong, China; Japan; Korea; New Zealand; Norway; Singapore; Switzerland; Chinese Taipei; and the United States, committed to begin preparations for negotiations to liberalise trade in environmental goods, building on the APEC List of Environmental Goods.

The global challenges we face, including environmental protection and climate change, require urgent action. Today, we[1] are pleased to announce the launch of negotiations on the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA), through which we aim to achieve our shared goal of global free trade in environmental goods. We will now engage in intensive negotiations, meeting regularly in Geneva, to discuss the substance of the agreement, including product coverage. We are committed to work towards the timely and successful conclusion of the agreement.

In this process we are committed to work together and with other WTO Members similarly committed to liberalization that are interested in joining our ambitious efforts. We are convinced that this WTO initiative will strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system, support its mission to liberalise trade, provide important impetus to the DDA negotiations and benefit all WTO Members, including by involving all major traders and applying the principle of Most Favoured Nation, once a critical mass of Members agree to participate.

UK Minister for Trade, Lord Livingston said:

Today’s launch of negotiations in Geneva is an important step towards achieving global free trade in environmental goods. This agreement will provide strong benefits to the UK and the EU as well as making a significant global contribution towards tackling climate change and supporting sustainable growth. I am proud that the UK is part of this initiative and look forward to the start of negotiations on an ambitious agreement.

[1] For Korea, the domestic procedures for participation are still in progress

Published 8 July 2014