The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is inviting submissions ahead of negotiations on a plurilateral agreement to remove tariffs on a range of environmental goods.
Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb announced in January that Australia would join 13 other World Trade Organization (WTO) members to negotiate this agreement.
The global market for environmental goods is significant. It was worth US$1 trillion in 2012 and is expected to reach around US$3 trillion by 2020. Australia’s environmental goods exports in 2013 were estimated at A$1.3 billion, and imports at A$7.2 billion.
Removing tariffs on a wide range of environmental goods would help reduce costs and give Australian industries better access to this fast growing global sector. Improving the affordability of these goods would also improve the quality of life for many by providing a cleaner environment and better access to safe water, sanitation and energy.
The other WTO members participating in the negotiations are: Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and the United States.
Negotiations are expected to begin in mid-2014 and will focus initially on 54 items on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation List of Environmental Goods, including solar panels, wind turbines and water technology, infrastructure and equipment.
WTO members may also seek to expand this list to include other products. In calling for submissions, the Department is also seeking advice from interested parties on possible additional products for inclusion in the agreement.
Submissions should be lodged, if possible, by 23 May at email@example.com.
The Department is also undertaking stakeholder consultations and interested parties can email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 02 6261 1537 for information.