About the Environmental Goods Agreement
The Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) is an attempt by some World Trade Organization (WTO) Members to reduce tariffs on goods that benefit the environment to reduce costs and benefit trade. The agreement aims to build on the list of 54 environmental goods that APEC leaders agreed for tariff reduction in 2012.
The EGA will also play a role in implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
A detailed Trade Sustainability Impact Assessment on the EGA determined that it will have significant positive environmental, economic and social impacts.
The Australian Government chairs the EGA negotiations.
Participating WTO Members include Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union and its 28 member states, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and the United States.
Type of environmental goods
The global market for environmental goods is expected to be worth around US$3 trillion by 2020.
These products include solar panels, wind turbines and other energy-efficient products, as well as air pollution, waste and water management technologies.
The goods under negotiation address a wide range of environmental issues. They include equipment for:
- air pollution control
- solid and hazardous waste management
- environmental remediation and clean-up
- cleaner and renewable energy
- energy and resource efficiency
- wastewater management and water treatment
- noise and vibration abatement
- environmental monitoring, analysis and assessment
- ‘environmentally-preferable’ products.
Australia and the EGA
Australia’s exports of environmental goods in 2014–15 were estimated at $1.5 billion, and imports at $8.7 billion.
Australian businesses are finding niche markets overseas for cutting-edge environmental technology innovation. The EGA will:
- remove tariffs and help these businesses access the rapidly growing global market
- encourage Australian innovation
- boost investment in climate and clean energy technologies
- lower costs for Australian businesses importing environmental goods.
Benefits of the EGA
The EGA will:
- strengthen multilateral trade by reinforcing the rules-based multilateral trading system
- make tariff elimination by EGA members accessible to all WTO Members — and any country aiming to promote free trade in environmental products
- bring together WTO Members, which make up 85–90 per cent of global trade in environmental goods
- make environmental goods cheaper and more accessible
- create a cleaner environment and improve access to safe water, sanitation and clean energy.
Timeline of ETA activity
2014: Start of negotiations on goods for tariff elimination
2014–2016: series of 18 ongoing negotiating rounds
2016: Ministers agreed to aim to conclude the EGA negotiations by the end of 2016, having achieved a landing zone by the G20 Summit in September. This conclusion was not met, but ministers reaffirmed the importance of the EGA and their commitment to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible.
The opportunity to nominate environmental goods as part of the EGA negotiation has closed. We welcome any supplementary information on goods already nominated, or goods and services for consideration in EGA reviews.
Stakeholder submissions during industry consultations since 2014: