The Environmental Goods Agreement

At the 2014 World Economic Forum in Davos, the EU and 13 other WTO member countries launched negotiations aimed at liberalising trade in environmental goods with the ultimate objective of “achieving global free trade in environmental goods.”

Currently, 17 members, including the European Union, are part of the negotiations for the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA). Although the EGA is explicitly plurilateral, the long term objective is to create a large membership so that a “critical mass” is formed, which would enable it to be transitioned back into the WTO within the multilateral most-favored nation framework.

The negotiations employ the APEC List of 54 Environmental Goods as a starting point with the intent of expanding it to include a “broad list of additional products.” The ambition is to create a 'living agreement' that would be able to respond to the changes in technologies in the years to come, to add new products, and to address environmental services as well as non-tariff barriers to trade.

For the Environmental Goods Agreement to be effective, it must target specific environmental categories/sectors and ensure that a formalised list of covered environmental goods and services is reflective of international as well as regional and local environmental priorities. This includes taking into account the concerns of developing and least developed countries (LDCs), which suffer from numerous immediate and pressing environmental challenges.

To read more about the latest developments in the EGA negotiations, please visit our news page.