This morning the NAM and the Global Business Dialogue hosted a discussion about the Environmental Goods Agreement (EGA) negotiations underway at the World Trade Organization (WTO). NAM’s Linda Dempsey, Vice President for International Economic Affairs, spoke about the benefits to manufacturing of a broad EGA, mentioning that, “increased trade and global engagement is vital for our manufacturers. With only a 9 percent share of the global $11 trillion market in manufactured goods trade outside our borders, manufacturers can and should be able to expand commercial opportunities.
Dempsey was joined on the panel by Assistant USTR for Environment and Natural Resources Jennifer Prescott, Minister-Counsellor for Trade at the Australian Embassy Simon Newnham, Senior Manager for International Trade and Investment at General Electric Company Orit Frenkel, and Director of Global Government Affairs for Corning, Inc. Debra Waggoner.
The Coalition for Green Trade, co-chaired by the NAM, National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) and U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB), has been working to promote the EGA talks and includes a broad range of stakeholders with a strong interest in seeing these negotiations move forward and materialize as quickly as possible.
With greater productivity and increased competition from overseas, manufacturers in the United States need to expand their customer base in order to sustain their businesses and create jobs. Global tariffs on environmental products are as high as 35 percent in some nations, so eliminating these tariffs would have a substantial and positive impact on manufacturers who are working to develop new and improved goods aimed at solving environmental challenges. Achieving an Environmental Goods Agreement will unlock significant opportunities for manufacturers to decrease the cost of these products to consumers inside and outside the United States, drive innovation, and expand sales and manufacturing jobs.
To open new markets, we must eliminate trade barriers and leverage all the trade tools at our disposal. Comprehensive tariff liberalization would be the most effective approach to promoting trade and economic growth globally — but in a world where Doha talks remain at a standstill and countries like India and China that have so much to gain from the global economy need to be persuaded to agree to even the simplest of deals, the NAM believes that we need to pursue every avenue of potential tariff relief aggressively. As USTR’s Jennifer Prescott mentioned at today’s event, as we consider the broad range of products that might be included in a final EGA, it is important that we “err on the side of trade liberalization.”
The NAM has been a strong supporter of and applauded this month’s breakthrough in the expansion of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) talks that will cut tariffs on a wide range of additional high-tech products, the first such global tariff-cutting agreement in more than 17 years. And now we want to see similar progress on eliminating tariffs on the very broad environmental goods sector and are urging the United States and 13 other EGA countries to negotiate a comprehensive deal that will spur innovation and economic growth in the green goods industries.
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