Sustainable development | Brussels, 22 Janvier 2016
Environmental Goods Agreement: Promoting EU environmental objectives through trade
Since July 2014 the EU and 16 other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been negotiating an Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). Its aim is to remove barriers to trade in products that are crucial for environmental protection and climate change mitigation.
Eliminating the customs duties can boost trade in "green goods", and this in turn can help the European Union and its partners to protect environment and meet their climate and energy targets.
Each participant of the negotiations has provided a list of products which it considers to belong to this "green" category. The products selected by the EU can contribute directly to environmental protection, climate action, green growth and sustainable development. The EU would like to eliminate duties on products used for:
- generation of renewable energy,
- control of air pollution,
- management of solid and hazardous waste,
- management of waste water and water treatment,
- environmental remediation and clean up,
- noise and vibration abatement,
- resource and energy efficiency,
- environmental monitoring and analysis.
The selection of products to be included in the EGA is made on the basis of their end use rather than production methods. This is because there is no common international methodology that would allow assessing the environmental performance of a product throughout its life cycle.
To maximise the positive contribution of trade to environmental protection, the EU selected products that constitute main elements of more complex environmental systems. For instance, in case of waste management they range from waste containers and machinery for sorting waste to shredding or baling machines. In addition to the main products, we also too into account their parts.
Prior to making a selection, the EU consulted a range of experts. Relevant international organisations, national environmental agencies, industry and NGOs provided guidance on which environmental products should the agreement focus. Customs officials have also been involved in the process to ensure that the environmental products are clearly defined and differentiated from other products in the customs nomenclature.
See below some examples of the EU's nominated products: