World Energy Council launches new Rules of Trade report at APEC

Posted on 19 August 2016

infographic 2A new report by the world Energy Council addressing the need to tackle non-tariff measures was launched at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Market Access Group meeting in Lima, Peru, on 18 August.

The World Energy Perspective 2016: ‘Non-tariff measures: next steps for catalysing the low-carbon economy’, published by the Council’s Rules of Trade Knowledge Network, includes experts from 28 countries. It explores how an open global trade and investment regime focussing on energy and environmental goods and services, can foster the transition to a low carbon economy.

Environmental goods represent a trade market of approximately US$ 1trillion annually. Reducing barriers to trade and investment would support cost effectiveness and efficient decarbonisation of the energy sector leading to more sustainable and accessible energy systems.

While a number of international efforts have been progressing in the elimination of tariff barriers, a comprehensive initiative to phase out non-tariff barriers on products covered in the current plurilateral environmental goods tariff negotiations could be undertaken.

These topics are only just starting to be addressed within the World Trade Organisation rules and appear to be limited, finds the report.

As a trade barrier, non-tariff measures (NTMs), frequently relate to customs procedures and import requirements, technical standards and other regulations that impede the flow of goods and services. NTMs affect between 80% and 90% of trade. Therefore, understanding and tackling NTMs that impact on the low-carbon energy sector should be a priority in a country’s efforts to successfully address its energy trilemma.

Christoph Frei, Secretary-General of the World Energy Council, said: “Addressing the energy trilemma presents extraordinary challenges for policymakers and requires an adequate global trade and investment regime. This would encourage and leverage investment, innovation and technology uptake, to meet the climate and energy objectives set by the United Nations, G20 and COP 21.”

A session on trade and innovation will play a central part in discussions at the 23rd World Energy Congress in October, which will see global energy leaders address the critical energy frontiers facing the global energy sector today. ‘The imperative of trade: Accelerating the innovation transfer’ is one of the Congress sessions addressing Governance frontiers. It will be led by Morlaye Bangoura, Commissioner, Energy and Moines, ECOWAS, Nigeria alongside Ricardo Melendez-Ortiz, Chief Executive Officer, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Switzerland and Timothy Richards, Executive Chair, Rules of Trade, World Energy Council on 12 October.