Trade and Environment
The 1994 Marrakesh Agreement refers to the importance of optimally using the world’s resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development and seeking to protect and preserve the environment. As such, the role of the WTO in relation to trade and environment is to ensure that environmental policies do not act as obstacles to trade, and that trade rules do not stand in the way of legitimate domestic environmental protection.
Trade and environment issues within the WTO are dealt with by the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE), which was created by the 1994 Ministerial Decision on Trade and Environment. The Committee’s mandate is broad, and provides opportunities for WTO members to raise a wide range of issues relating to trade and environment. Some of the topics currently being examined by the Committee include eco-labelling and environmental technology dissemination.
Trade and Environment Negotiations
Australia joined 12 other members of the WTO, including the EU, US, China and Japan, to launch the negotiation of a plurilateral agreement on the liberalisation of trade in environmental goods at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on 24 January 2014.
The initiative has brought together WTO Members which account for 86 per cent of global trade in environmental goods. It will be open to any other countries sharing the ambition to promote free trade in environmental products. Its successful launch highlighted the value of a major group of economies working together to further liberalise trade.
The negotiations will reinforce the rules-based multilateral trading system by: being open to all WTO members; extending tariff elimination to all WTO members; and only coming into force when a critical mass of global trade in the relevant goods is covered. Australia's participation will allow us to put forward goods for tariff elimination which would give our industries better access to this significant and fast growing global sector.
Free Trade Agreement Policy and New Issues Section
Office of Trade Negotiations
R.G. Casey building
John McEwen Crescent
Barton ACT 0221
Phone: + 61 2 6261 1537
Fax: + 61 2 6261 2927