BORACAY, Aklan: The Philippines reiterated its full commitment to make green growth a reality by creating a climate conducive for trade and investments in the environmental goods and services (EGS) sector during the 2nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Public-Private Partnership Dialogue on Environmental Goods and Services (PPEGS) held in Boracay, Aklan.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. said that the Philippines is amplifying efforts to promote trade and investment in the environmental goods and services sector to support green growth, build sustainable and resilient communities and businesses, and advance efforts to address climate change in the Asia-Pacific region.
During the meeting, industry representatives and policymakers from 21 APEC member economies exchanged views on issues that hinder EGS trade and investments and also undertook capacity-building activities relevant to their commitments for sustainable green growth.
They also identified best practices to promote EGS trade and investment and discussed the role of public-private partnerships (PPP) in facilitating trade in the APEC region.
The meeting tackled APEC’s progress in reducing tariffs on the APEC list of 54 environmental goods such as waste water purifying equipment, solar panels and wind turbines, and working out technical issues to bring levels down to 5 percent or less by the end of 2015.
More than 70 percent of these goods produce renewable energy, are used for environmental monitoring, analysis and assessment, or strengthen air pollution controls, according the APEC Policy Support Unit.
In play is the first multilateral tariff-cutting arrangement in 18 years. Its completion would help to lower the cost of goods on the APEC list, improving access to them as markets grapple with the effects of development, demand for stronger environmental protection rises and new targets in areas like carbon emissions and renewable energy are considered.
$500-B global industry
“Our vision is to achieve a greener future for APEC member economies at the lowest possible cost, create new green jobs and utilize the latest environmental technologies to benefit all APEC member economies,” Cristobal said.
He added that improved market access for environmental goods would stimulate trade and investment, reduce cost, and contribute to efforts addressing climate change.
Bringing the initiative to a successful conclusion would boost a $500 billion global industry and with it, jobs and economic growth in the region.
Twelve of the top 30 global exporters of environmental goods are APEC members, including half of the top ten, the International Trade Center reports.
It could also facilitate tariff-lowering negotiations on environmental goods that began under the World Trade Organization last year, building on APEC’s work.
APEC economies had earlier committed to reduce to 5.0 percent or below the tariffs of 54 environmental goods. As far as the Philippines is concerned, 51 out of those 54 items are
now down to 5-percent duty or lower and only three more have tariffs a bit above 5 percent.
Philippine initiatives to mainstream the environmental sector into regional and global value chains have so far resulted to the inclusion of the country’s photovoltaic industry in the environmental global value chain.
A recent report of the International Trade Centre explained that the increase in Philippine exports of photovoltaic cells to over $1 billion in export value in 2013 can be attributed to a number of foreign companies outsourcing parts of their manufacturing process to the Philippines.
Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of drawing from the sun’s energy and converting it into direct current electricity. A PV system uses solar panels to supply usable solar power. The direct conversion of sunlight to electricity does not use moving parts and does not result in environmental emissions during operation.
Issues that affect environmental goods and services identified during the dialogue have been forwarded to the Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI), which in turn will discuss the acceleration of initiatives to increase trade and investments in EGS.