The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has pledged strong support for a new initiative to pursue the conclusion of a deal to liberalize trade in green goods and services, calling on more countries to join the drive for a deal which could inject up to US$10.3 billion in additional exports and augment employment gains by 256,000 jobs, according to an ICC commissioned report.
The initiative was launched today in Davos by Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and is the latest step to move global trade talks out of the Doha Development Agenda deadlock and build on momentum following the successful outcome of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in December 2013.
ICC Chairman Harold (Terrry) McGraw said: "Building on the success of Bali, concluding a new plurilateral treaty to liberalize trade in green goods and services will be another demonstration of the benefits of working within the World Trade Organization to conclude new agreements for the 21st Century. Nothing could be more important to both developed and developing economies than to increase the trade in goods and services that contribute to their economies, create jobs and sustain their resources to the benefit of all citizens.”
On behalf of its extensive global business network of 6.5 companies, ICC has long advocated for tariff reduction on green goods. Recognizing the importance of sustainable growth and access to open, well-functioning and efficient markets, ICC urges more countries to join the plurilateral initiative to develop a truly global agreement. According to the Peterson Institute for International Economics the EU, together with APEC countries, represent more than 95% of world trade in clean and energy efficient technologies.
"Freeing trade in environmental goods and services will increase trade, promote investment, and hasten the spread of green technologies worldwide,” said James Bacchus, Chair of the ICC Commission on Trade and Investment Policy and Chair of the Global Practice Group, Greenberg Traurig. “It will further green growth at a time when the world much needs to grow in a sustainable way. Not least, it will sustain and strengthen the momentum of the WTO in building on its recent success in Bali."
ICC’s World Trade Agenda initiative highlighted fostering ‘greener’ economic activity through trade as a salvageable element of stalled Doha Round trade negotiations.
The set of business recommendations called for concrete progress to be made in lowering trade barriers for all goods to foster global value chains, including lowering trade barriers to environmental goods and services, building upon the APEC initiative to discuss at the WTO an agreement to eliminate barriers to trade in environmental goods and services. It also encouraged cooperative approaches and alternatives to unilaterally-imposed environmental rules that are trade-restrictive or create barriers to trade.
The World Trade Agenda was launched by ICC and the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry in response to calls from WTO members and G20 leaders for fresh approaches from business following a 12-year impasse in multilateral trade negotiations.
“We hope that the plurilateral effort could become the basis for a broader WTO agreement on sustainable energy trade” said ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier. “We encourage WTO members to keep an open mind about such achievable deals and maintain the newfound momentum of the WTO in advancing world trade, and follow this initiative with others such as negotiations of an International Services Agreement, within the WTO.”
Earlier this week, ICC Chairman Harold Terry McGraw hosted a meeting between business leaders and WT Director-General Roberto Azevedo on the post-Bali trade development agenda and underlined the importance of leadership in moving the trade agenda forward.
Mr McGraw said that with Mr Azevedo at the helm pre- and post-Bali there was solid confidence that more can be achieved at the WTO in favour of jobs and growth for the world economy.