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Consultations | Brussels, 5 June 2014

Commission launches public consultation on trade in environmental goods (“Green Goods Initiative”)

In early 2014, several World Trade Organisation (WTO) members, including the EU, decided to work together to make it easier to buy and sell ’green goods’ internationally. ’Green goods’ are innovative products that can help reduce countries’ dependency on fossil fuels and use natural resources more efficiently. Eliminating customs duties on such ’green goods’ would cut costs and encourage their use.

To feed into its preparations for the negotiations, the European Commission has launched an online public consultation.

The first, general, part of the consultation is addressed to all stakeholders. The second part focuses on information that EU companies and trade associations could provide.

Among other things, the Commission would like to hear what types of products European stakeholders think should be considered as "environmental goods" under the potential agreement. The consultation also asks about barriers that may hinder trade in green goods but which are not related to tariffs. Finally, some questions ask about environmental services, such as the construction or maintenance of wind turbines.

The contributions from the public consultation will help shape the EU's priorities and position in the forthcoming negotiations and ensure that the outcome is good both for the environment and for EU businesses and jobs.

Background

Technology is advancing quickly in areas like renewable energy, water use and energy efficiency. Innovative products have the potential to decrease world’s dependency on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They can also make our use of natural resources more efficient.

The EU is the world’s leader in developing environment-friendly technologies so an agreement could not only benefit the planet but also help create jobs in the EU. Cutting tariffs would improve access for European products to global markets and make them more competitive. We could also benefit from a wider range of products from other countries that could more easily be used for environmental purposes in Europe.

The global initiative to reduce barriers to green goods could result in a legally binding trade agreement, consistent with WTO trade rules.

More information

About the consultation

Joint statement on the launch of the green goods initiative