APEC cuts tariffs on environmental goods

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THE 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group published on Thursday details of the implementation of tariff cuts on 54 environment-friendly goods, which are expected to boost trade and support the fight against climate change.

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In their first multilateral tariff-cut deal in 20 years, APEC members are moving to reduce tariffs to five percent or less on certain goods like solar panels, wind turbines, and air pollution control equipment.

The tariff cut is in line with global talks under the World Trade Organization.

Along with efforts to support service providers that use clean technologies, the tariff reductions position the region to meet its target of doubling renewable energy by 2030 and reducing energy intensity by 45 percent by 2035.

In its official website, the APEC said the tariff reductions on its list of environmental goods would promote intra-regional trade worth around $300 billion and global trade worth $500 billion.

This, the group said, would unlock new sources of economic growth while giving impetus to the Environmental Goods Agreement talks under WTO, which are set to continue this year.

“Each APEC economy has put forward an implementation plan detailing the progress of their work to cut tariffs on the region’s list of 54 environmental goods,” said Marie Sherylyn Aquia, the new Chair of the APEC Committee on Trade and Investment, the
coordinating body for the initiative.

“The reduction of tariffs under the APEC environmental goods initiative is an important step forward for trade and green growth,” Aquia explained. “Transparent, easy-to-access information on tariff cuts within the sector made available by APEC economies will help businesses take advantage of new trade opportunities while promoting clean, efficient energy use, and lower carbon emissions in the region.”

Half of the top ten global exporters of environmental goods and 12 of the top 30 are APEC economies, according to the International Trade Centre.

The total market for environmental goods and services is expected to double to $2 trillion within five years, fueled by increasing global energy consumption, demand for greater efficiency, and environmental regulation, the APEC said.

The group added that the progress of implementation work and next steps to further develop the environmental sector would be points of discussion when the region’s officials meet in Lima on February 20 to March 4 to open Peru’s year as chair of APEC this year.

For the Philippines, Most Favored Nation (MFN) tariffs of products included in the APEC Environmental Goods Initiative are at 5 percent or below except for six tariff lines whose tariffs are to be reduced to 5 percent subject to the issuance of the implementing Executive Order by the President.

This process also requires the Philippine Tariff Commission (PTC) to hold public consultations and conduct investigations on petitions for tariff modification.

The PTC then submits the results of the consultations and its recommendations to the National Economic and Development Authority and an inter-agency committee, for deliberation.

Upon approval of the NEDA Board, which makes the final decision, the Tariff Commission prepares the EO to be signed by the President.

In details of implementation submitted by the Philippines, among the environmental products covered by the APEC tariff-cut deal are: flooring panels, parts of vapor-generating boilers, condensers for vapor power units, parts of steam or other vapor turbines, parts of industrial furnaces or ovens including non-electric incinerators, instantaneous or storage water, machinery for liquefying air or other gases, and filtering or purifying machinery for liquids.

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