Agreement On Climate Change Trade And Sustainability (Accounts) Negotiations
We are small, trade-dependent countries that believe that trade measures and disciplines can help meet the urgent challenge we face for sustainable development in general and climate change in particular. We have traditionally had much in common in terms of strategic direction on trade policy issues and we share the objective of reaching a quality agreement as quickly and efficiently as possible, with concrete and substantial results. The content of the agreement has yet to be defined, but the aim is to at least remove barriers to trade in environmental goods and services, remove fossil fuel subsidies and develop guidelines for voluntary eco-label programs. This broad scope is taking new paths in several respects. First, although the 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, which includes New Zealand, agreed on a list of environmental products as early as 2011, the extension of negotiations to environmental services will continue to support the dissemination and use of climate-friendly technologies. Second, the introduction of binding rules for the removal of environmentally harmful fossil fuel subsidies would be a major step forward from the existing voluntary and vague commitments made by the Group of 20 (G20) and APEC to end such subsidies. Although there have so far been no signs of conflict between trade and environmental regimes, the outcome of these negotiations will strengthen relations between the two legal systems. Negotiators concluded the national experience of negotiating and implementing multilateral environmental agreements (MMAs) at the national level. They are looking for ways to improve national coordination and cooperation in this regard. These mechanisms can be critical to the success of national and international efforts to mitigate climate change and adapt to climate change.
In addition, WTO rules and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) show that the two regimes do not operate in isolation. First, UnFCCC Article 3.5 and Article 2.3 of the Kyoto Protocol provide that measures to combat climate change should not be a means of arbitrary or unjustified discrimination or disguised restriction of international trade and should be implemented in a way that minimizes negative effects, including on international trade, as well as social impacts environmental and economic issues on other parties. In addition, WTO rules leave sufficient political room for manoeuvre to allow, under certain conditions, the use of trade measures to protect the environment. At the inter-institutional level, members are also exploring opportunities to improve information exchange and cooperation between the WTO and EEA secretariats. Concrete elements are discussed to improve or complement existing cooperation practices and mechanisms. This exchange of information focuses on attending meetings and organising information exchange meetings and joint technical assistance and capacity-building activities.