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Business Leaders Call on Administration to Lower Barriers to Green Trade
Date: 7/30/2009
Written By: Jennifer Cummings, The Fratelli Group for NFTC, 202-822-9491

Trade Groups Urge ‘Swift Conclusion’ of Environmental Trade Agreement; Advocate Work at OECD, APEC

Washington, D.C. – Leading trade associations, including the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), today sent a letter to President Obama strongly urging the Administration to pursue a swift conclusion of a comprehensive Environmental Goods and Services Agreement. The associations asked the president to use a variety of channels to lower trade barriers to green goods and services, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), other economic forums and climate negotiations.

In addition to the NFTC, the letter was signed by groups including the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, the Coalition of Service Industries, the Emergency Committee for American Trade, the Information Technology Industry Council, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Organization for International Investment, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The associations wrote, “Lowering trade barriers on green goods and services would be good for the environment and the U.S. economy.” Liberalizing green trade, they continued, “would help create the green jobs that will accelerate recovery of the U.S. economy.”

While the Doha Round of WTO negotiations is one potential forum to pursue an international agreement on green goods and services, the associations noted, “the combined economic and environmental benefits of an agreement warrant the exploration of alternative or complementary efforts. We hope you will investigate the feasibility of either a plurilateral agreement at the WTO or the initiation of negotiations via another forum, balancing the need to capture a significant portion of environmental trade and an ability to enforce commitments with a framework that is flexible enough to permit the rapid conclusion of a deal.”

The trade associations suggested the Administration consider the Forum on Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as forums to help secure interim commitments in advance of a WTO agreement.

The groups also encouraged the president to promote the utility of lowering trade barriers on green goods and services in international environmental forums, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Major Economies Forum. The letter also underscores the importance of protecting intellectual property rights in green technologies with respect to stimulating American innovation and creating green jobs.

Finally, the letter also expresses concern over the lack of discussion of global trade in environmentally-friendly goods and services in the House-passed American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

“Emphasizing the importance of an environmental goods and services agreement in domestic legislation would enhance legislative efforts to deliver clean technologies to the developing world. We hope that you and your Administration will work with Congress to generate clear signals of support for lower trade barriers, which can help to reinforce a positive message on lowering green tariffs to the international community,” the associations concluded.

For the full text of the letter, click here.

About the NFTC

Advancing Global Commerce for 95 Years - The National Foreign Trade Council is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves hundreds of member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.

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