Trade and Investment Rules for Energy
IV. Promoting Trade in environmental Goods and Services
Issues and Challenges
The Task Force defines Environmental Goods and Services (EGS) as those goods and services that offer a cleaner or less energy intensive process or final product as opposed to methods and technologies currently used. In general, all technologies and processes that make new and substantial contributions to reductions in GHG emissions could be included under the EGS umbrella. The Task Force believes that the elimination of government imposed barriers to trade in EGS, reducing their cost and thereby spurring their utilization, is one means of contributing to international GHG reduction objectives.
In parallel with the lead-in to COP-15 later in 2009, a particular challenge is how and to what extent agreement on improved market access for EGS can be realized, including the prospects of action ahead of any new round of WTO negotiations. Among the options considered below is the possibility of a more limited or "plurilateral" type of agreement on EGS (i.e., agreement that is less than the full WTO membership), possibly using the Information Technology Agreement as a model.
The Task Force notes that, notwithstanding global efforts to deal with GHG emissions, governments continue to maintain tariffs and other market access barriers limiting expansion of EGS trade, which in turn inhibit the deployment of enhanced clean energy technologies. This runs counter to the broader objective of coordinated international efforts to effectively deal with climate change. The Task Force believes that reducing or eliminating such barriers would help stimulate new and innovative technological development, in turn reducing the deleterious impact of carbon emissions and ultimately assisting in the realization of these broader environmental goals.