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Input Sought on U.S. Interests and Priorities in Environmental Goods Talks

Friday, March 28, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is inviting comments through May 5 on U.S. interests and priorities in the negotiations for a World Trade Organization Environmental Goods Agreement, which are expected to begin this summer. USTR will also hold a June 5 hearing in Washington, D.C., to gather public input on these issues, and those wishing to testify at this hearing must provide written notification and a summary of their testimony no later than May 5.

The EGA talks will initially include 14 WTO members (Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan and the U.S.) that account for 86% of global trade in environmental goods. However, the negotiations will be open to all WTO members that are prepared to eliminate tariffs on a set of environmental goods, building on the list of 54 such products endorsed by APEC leaders in 2012. USTR notes that the APEC list “is the starting point for establishing the scope of the proposed agreement” and that comments are sought on additional products that could be included in the negotiations.

USTR is particularly seeking input on the following.

- products that the U.S. should seek to include in the EGA, including a detailed description of the specific product and, as appropriate, the six-digit (or eight-digit or ten-digit, where applicable) Harmonized System tariff classification number

- environmental uses and benefits of the products being proposed for inclusion

- U.S. trading partners that are significant producers or consumers of environmental goods

- how best to ensure that such an agreement remains relevant into the future

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