China, US Move Forward on Environmental Goods Talks

Stephanie Henry

The United States, China and 12 other World Trade Organization (WTO) members announced on January 24 they would begin work towards reducing tariffs on environmental goods, such as solar panels, wind turbines, and other green technologies. The talks represent the latest multilateral effort involving China aimed at reducing trade barriers for goods and services in global markets. Other recent multilateral negotiations involving China have not progressed significantly; negotiations over the Information Technology Agreement stalled last year.

According to the joint statement, the negotiations will build on a list of 54 environment goods compiled by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members in 2012. APEC members committed to reduce tariffs on these goods by 5 percent by 2015. The US estimates that annual environmental goods trade worldwide is about $955 billion, and that the negotiating parties involved in the current deal represent 86 percent of environmental goods trade. The US statement noted parties were working to involve other WTO members in the discussions. USCBC supports efforts to promote bilateral trade between the United States and China and ease barriers to US goods in China, including those facing environmental products.

The statement did not include a timeline for negotiations.