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WTO: Climate Change in the Spotlight at Special Committee meeting

March 3, 2010

Under the WTO negotiations on trade and the environment, part of the Doha round of trade talks, climate change is a major focus.

The negotiations focus on three themes:

  • The relationship between the WTO rules and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs)
  • The collaboration between the WTO and the MEA secretariats
  • The elimination of tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers on environmental goods and services

In February 2010, the Committee met again.  At the meeting, Japan tabled a proposal to set out harmonised technological and functional standards for the inclusion of a list of low-emissions technologies – specifically energy efficiency products.  Japan contends, without prejudice, that such a standard:

…..could lead to the spread of energy efficient products certified under a single standard for energy efficiency, which would contribute to the mitigation of the negative impact of climate change.

The Japanese submission goes on to say:

It is not an easy task but we think that it should be undertaken by the CTESS.

Indeed.  How such a broad range of energy efficient products might be wrapped and identified under a harmonized standard is not clear, given the significant variety of functions and definitions involved.  While the Japanese submission was short on detail in relation to the standard proposed, we look forward to following the Committee’s progress.

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