In 2016, there were intensive meetings and workshops to discuss the link between trade and climate change, waste management, standard harmonization, and environmental goods among the WTO members. The meeting of the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) was held in November to discuss trade and environment issues, such as climate change and management of chemicals and waste, particularly from discarded electronics. In regard to climate change, most countries agreed that trade has an important role to play in addressing climate change and helping countries meet their commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Thus, some WTO members wanted to discuss this issue in the CTE since they sought to deepen members’ understanding of trade policy’s potential contribution to addressing climate change. Several members, however, mentioned that this issue should be left to other fora even though they also agreed on the importance of enhancing understanding of the links between the fora. In regard to chemicals and waste management, with a focus on ‘e-waste’ from electronic equipment, several international organizations such as the Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization shared their work on the sustainable management of e-waste and the main obstacles to managing e-waste in an environmental friendly way, particularly for developing countries. The eighteenth round of negotiations to discuss liberalizing trade on a range of important environmental goods took place in Geneva from 26 November to 2 December. Immediately following this meeting, trade ministers and senior officials from the eighteen Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) participants met in Geneva on 3–4 December to discuss the EGA negotiations. The eighteen members of the WTO have been engaged in negotiations since 2014 to reduce customs duties on certain products used in a variety of environmentally related functions including: generating clean and renewable energy; improving energy and resource efficiency; reducing air, water, and soil pollution; managing solid and hazardous waste; noise abatement; and monitoring environmental quality. These negotiations have been agreed as the EGA, but its concrete text regarding issues such as substantive rights and obligations of the members and the coverage products have not been settled yet. Constructive talks were held, and progress was made at the December meeting, but the eighteen participants could not conclude the list of environmental goods subject to the reduction of tariffs. There was a remarkable case relating to clean energy following the Canada-Renewable Energy case that was concluded in 2012. The Dispute Settlement Body adopted the Appellate Body report in India: Certain Measures Relating to Solar Cells and Solar Modules in October. The United States brought the case in 2013 against India concerning certain measures of India relating to domestic content requirements under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission for solar cells and solar modules by arguing that India’s measures were inconsistent with WTO laws. The Appellate Body upheld the panel’s findings in favour of the United States. As the Canada-Renewable Energy case mentioned above, the domestic content requirements are not covered by the exemption under the so-called ‘government procurement carve-out’ of Article III:8(a) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: email@example.com
Yearbook of International Environmental Law – Oxford University Press
Published: Dec 28, 2017
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