Options for Liberalising Trade in Environmental Goods in the Doha Round E-mail
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Paragraph 31(iii) of the 2001 World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Ministerial Declaration calls for “the reduction or, as appropriate, elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers
to environmental goods and services”. This paper examines this mandate as it relates to environmental goods.

The Doha mandate does not define “environmental goods” or the modalities for the negotiations. As a result, modalities and definitional aspects of environmental goods have been the main focus of the negotiations since 2001.

The analysis in this paper examines and builds on the different approaches that have emerged in the negotiations – narrow approaches based on existing definitions of environmental goods versus broader approaches that seek to expand that definition. The Introduction sets out the background to the negotiations and issues raised by technological change and innovation.

Options for Liberalising Trade in Environmental Goods in the Doha Round,
ICTSD  Issue Paper  by Rob Howse and Petrus Van Bork

Section 2 of the paper examines environmental and trade effects of reduced tariffs on established environmental technologies for developed and developing countries. In Section 3, the environmental and trade effects are analysed for reduced tariffs on environmentally preferable products, including those based on process and production methods (PPMs). Section 4 outlines the current proposals on environmental goods in the Special Session of the CTE. Options for how to proceed are developed in Section 5. These include proposals to select crucial environmental imperatives, develop an environmental performance criteriabased approach, negotiate an environmental goods agreement in the WTO and put in place an environmental duty drawback system. Finally, Section 6 offers some conclusions and recommendations as a contribution to advance the debate.

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