World news story

Joint Statement : UK welcomes announcement at Davos to liberalise trade in environmental goods

Statement issued at the World Economic Forum which is taking place in Davos, Switzerland, 22 to 25 January 2014.

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

Renewable energy

Renewable energy and the liberalisation of trade in environmental goods

We 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 welcome Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ agreement to explore opportunities in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to build on its ground-breaking commitment to reduce tariffs on the APEC List of Environmental Goods by the end of 2015. So today, we announce our commitment to achieve global free trade in environmental goods, and pledge to work together, and with other WTO Members similarly committed to liberalization, to begin preparing for negotiations in order to advance this shared goal.

We are convinced that one of the most concrete, immediate contributions that the WTO and its Members can make to protect our planet is to seek agreement to eliminate tariffs for goods that we all need to protect our environment and address climate change.

We anticipate a structure for an environmental goods agreement that would reinforce the rules-based multilateral trading system and benefit all WTO Members, including by involving all major traders and applying the principle of Most Favoured Nation. Such an agreement would take effect once a critical mass of WTO Members participates.

Our work will build upon APEC Leaders’ commitment to reduce tariffs on the APEC List of 54 Environmental Goods. APEC has given us a good start, and we are committed to exploring a broad range of additional products, in the context of a future oriented agreement able to address other issues in the sector and to respond to changes in technologies in the years to come, that can also directly and positively contribute to green growth and sustainable development.

Building on the momentum created by the agreement reached in Bali, we strongly believe that this effort in the WTO will add impetus and energy to the multilateral trading system and support its mission to liberalize trade, and make a significant contribution to the international environmental protection agenda, including our shared efforts in the ongoing United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations to combat climate change and transition to a green economy.

Published 24 January 2014