Editorial

What does “green good” mean?

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On 8 July 2014, the EU and 13 other WTO members launched negotiations to liberalise global trade in environmental goods.

Earlier in January at Davos, a much larger and global group of countries welcomed Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ agreement to explore opportunities to reduce tariffs on the APEC List of Environmental Goods by the end of 2015.

This “green goods initiative” aims at removing barriers to trade and investment in “green” goods, services and technologies.

The proposals include recycled fibre based products, paper for recycling, paper and pulp.

As EU markets have been fully open to wood, pulp, recovered paper and paper & board imports since Jan 2004, any attempt to have pulp and paper import tariffs significantly reduced in foreign countries should not be ignored. The negotiation process Member countries of APEC focus on reducing tariffs on 54 products to 5% or less by 2015, and then on a broad range of additional products.

In WTO the Parties already had a number of negotiating rounds. This summer they will try to agree on a list so that the political process can begin in autumn.

The EU is pushing for an ambitious and comprehensive agreement that will bring real benefits to trade and to the environment and will contribute to the UN climate negotiations in Paris and the 10th WTO Ministerial meeting in Nairobi at the end of the year.

On June 3rd, the European Commission organized a stakeholders’ roundtable on the EGA with focus on the on-going EGA negotiations ahead of the next round held 15-19 June 2015 between 13 WTO members (the EU and its 28 Member States count as one among the 13).

Commissioner Malmström highlighted the urgent nature of climate change and other environmental challenges and stressed the potential of the negotiations to help meet them.

The EU aims at a two-step approach in concluding the EGA deal. The first step would be to conclude an agreement to eliminate import tariffs of up to close to one hundred goods – with the APEC 54 goods list as a starting point – around the time of the global Paris climate change conference ‘COP 21′ planned in December.

The second step would be to expand the list of goods and to address other trade channels, notably government procurement and services.

To qualify paper for recycling, paper and pulp as environmental good is not absurd!

It’s absurd to use this classification to liberalise global trade!

The Europe has promoted very strongly environmental approach in the last 40 years! In the future I will be possible to qualify more goods as “green good”… and to liberalise the global trade!

But what does it mean “green good”? Are there internationally recognized standards about it?

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