The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) announced negotiations aimed at eliminating customs tariffs on a wide range of environmental goods by the U.S. and thirteen trading partners.
The Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) initiative seeks to build upon a 2012 commitment by Asia-Pacific nations to cap customs duties on 54 types of products deemed to contribute to green growth and sustainable development. In the June 2013 Climate Change Action Plan, President Obama called for negotiation of an international accord toward global free trade in environmental goods, including clean energy technologies.
“I renew my thanks to President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman for this important initiative,” said NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis. “On behalf of NEMA member companies, we recommend the EGA talks include a focus on eliminating customs duties on specific energy-efficient products as well as energy control and management products used in the Smart Grid.”
NEMA provided recommendations to U.S. negotiators during a June 5 public hearing of the Trade Policy Staff Committee, following up on May 5 written comments. NEMA signed a July 8 coalition letter to EGA negotiators urging a timely, inclusive and commercially-significant agreement. NEMA is also a member of the steering committee of the U.S.-based Coalition for Green Trade, which launched July 9.
The EGA negotiations are to take place under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and are open to all members of that organization. WTO members that launched negotiations with the U.S. on July 8 are Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan.
The U.S. has cited that some WTO members apply tariffs as high as 35 percent on environmental goods. Any agreement to lower or eliminate U.S. tariffs on environmental goods would require passage of legislation by Congress.