NAM announces Coalition for Environmental Trade Agreement; says President John Engler: ‘We should move ahead in trade where possible.’
The NAM is initiating a new coalition of companies and associations aimed at supporting negotiation of the Environmental Goods and Services Agreement (EGSA) in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“We cannot let the recent failure of the WTO meetings in Geneva put the parking brake on forward movement in trade,” said NAM President John Engler. “While everyone sorts out when and in what form the Doha Round might be re-started, we should seek out areas in which there may be enough interest for stand-alone agreements to advance trade liberalization in areas in which participants would see a balance of interests.
“One such area where I believe there may be enough interest among WTO members is the Environmental Goods and Services Agreement,” said Engler. “This Agreement would lead to tariff-free treatment among its participants on a range of environmental goods and services, as proposed by the United States and the European Union last year.
“This would be a worthy endeavor,” Engler said. “Working together to create barrier-free trade in goods and services that improve our skies and water not only can restore confidence that WTO members can move forward, but also will help result in a cleaner environment.
“Accordingly, I am announcing that the NAM is initiating an effort both by the U.S. business community and by a coalition of our counterpart industrial associations in other countries to advocate for WTO negotiations on this important Agreement,” Engler said. “In her public statements following the end of the Ministerial, I am pleased to note that U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Susan Schwab said this is one area that could be moved forward on its own track.
“Some other WTO members may feel that nothing should be agreed until everything is agreed and that there should not be stand-alone agreements separate from the Doha Round, so the way forward is by no means a slam-dunk,” Engler acknowledged. “The task is to find the right combination of products and WTO members so enough countries will see a self-contained balance – and that’s what our new coalition is going to seek to achieve.”
“This is an Agreement that can benefit all countries by lowering the cost of products and technologies that will help clean the environment, and it is well worth seeking,” said Engler.
“While this coalition will be an integral part of our approach to the WTO, we remain completely dedicated to finding other areas where progress can be made to advance the Doha Round,” said Engler. “These include a trade facilitation agreement that would shorten customs clearance times and non-tariff barrier agreements among countries willing to enter into them.”