Environmental Goods Agreement (under negotiation)
On 24 January 2014, Hong Kong, China together with 13 other WTO Members (namely Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, the European Union, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland1
and the United States) announced a plurilateral initiative to liberalise trade in environmental goods (EGs) with the goal of eliminating tariffs on EGs. After a series of preparatory work, the negotiation for the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) was formally launched on 8 July 2014.
The 14 participants have agreed that the EGA will take effect when a critical mass of WTO Members participate in it, and that the benefits of the EGA will be extended to all other WTO Members on a most-favoured-nation (MFN) basis. The negotiation for the EGA is open to all WTO Members that are prepared to eliminate tariffs on a wide range of EGs. It is expected that more WTO Members will join the negotiation2.
Key Elements of the Negotiation
The negotiation is structured along a number of specific categories of EGs. Product lists for tariff reduction/elimination on the following categories will be developed -
- Air pollution control
- Solid and hazardous waste management
- Waste water management and water treatment
- Environmental remediation and clean-up
- Noise and vibration abatement
- Cleaner and renewable energy
- Energy efficiency
- Environmental monitoring, analysis and assessment
- Resource efficiency
- Environmentally-preferable products
On top of tariff reduction and elimination, the EGA negotiation will also attempt to address non-tariff issues relevant to the liberalisation of trade in EGs.
Hong Kong, China's Participation in the Negotiation
As Hong Kong applies no tariffs on goods, we have no difficulty in meeting any obligation to reduce or eliminate tariffs on EGs, while our export trade and the business community will benefit from tariff reduction or elimination on EGs by our trading partners. The reduction or elimination of tariffs on EGs may also lower the cost of those products, which can be conducive to their wider use and to environmental protection generally.
To help formulate Hong Kong, China's position in the negotiation, the Trade and Industry Department held public consultations from 17 September to 9 October 2014 to invite suggestions on relevant EGs of significant trade/economic interest to Hong Kong for inclusion in the EGA for tariff reduction or elimination, as well as any views on non-tariff measures/practices adopted by the other participants of the negotiation that pose difficulties to Hong Kong traders of EGs.
Hong Kong, China will continue to participate actively and constructively in the negotiation for the EGA. Enquiries, comments or suggestions in this respect can be sent to the Trade and Industry Department via email@example.com
1 Switzerland participates on behalf of the customs union of Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
2 Israel joined the negotiation on 26 January 2015. Iceland and Turkey joined the negotiation on 16 March 2015.