If environmental goods are the hardware for fighting climate change, environmental services are the software that ensures they work as intended. Environmental services include companies that monitor the water supply of cities to identify costly leaks or those that install solar projects and wind turbines. Barriers to international trade in services generally take the form of barriers to foreign investment or barriers to early market entry. The integration of environmental services into the ACCTS is a remarkable innovation that recognizes the importance of maintaining synergy between environmental goods and environmental services during the process of trade liberalization. Email us at email@example.com or FTA_Outreach@mfat.govt.nz to continue sharing your views and registering your interest in future engagement opportunities. Tariffs on many industrial products in Iceland, New Zealand and Norway are already low. However, setting binding caps on potential tariffs they could impose on imports of environmental goods would send an important signal that these countries are prepared to restrict their policy space to ensure that producers and exporters of environmental goods in ACCTS countries have the security they need to make long-term trade decisions. This could help increase the acceptance of environmentally sound technologies, reduce the costs of environmental protection and improve the competitiveness of clean energy technologies compared to fossil fuels, which are generally subject to low import barriers. A successful conclusion of these negotiations would set an important precedent for multilateral and plurilateral trade negotiations. These small countries can make normative changes by showing that trade can be an instrument to achieve climate and sustainable development goals and that rules can be developed to this end. The ACCTS initiative complements our ongoing advocacy and leadership on this global issue of climate change. Ahead of the next major climate summit in Glasgow, UK (COP26) in November and the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan (MC12) in June, this seminar will provide an opportunity to explore how the agendas of trade, climate change and sustainable development can support each other.
But achieving this ambition is easier said than done. Although the links between climate and trade are regularly discussed in the WTO`s Trade and Environment Committee, any changes in climate change-related rules are blocked, partly because of broader challenges facing the organisation and partly because an agreement between 164 WTO members on how trade rules could support climate change is far away. Even a targeted attempt to reduce tariffs on a limited list of “environmental goods” such as wind turbines and photovoltaics (PV) among a subgroup of WTO members, including the US, China and the EU, has stopped due to differences of opinion over which goods to include. . . .