US pleased with APEC 'green' products list
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia – The United States welcomed on Friday a deal to cut tariffs on dozens of "green" products in the Asia-Pacific, saying it would boost the region's economies as well as help protect the environment.
Trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) group agreed Thursday on 54 products that would have tariffs slashed to five per cent or less by 2015, including wind turbine blades and solar batteries.
"We're very pleased with the outcome of yesterday's trade ministers meeting. I think we really had good results on environmental goods," US Deputy Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis told AFP.
"We've come up with a result that will be very important in terms of liberalisation of trade in the area of environmental goods."
Marantis is Washington's top trade official at this week's APEC meetings in the eastern Russian city of Vladivostok, which conclude on Saturday and Sunday with a summit of leaders from the 21-member bloc.
He said the agreement was "good for both trade and also good for promoting all the APEC economies' agenda on green growth."
APEC leaders who met in Hawaii last year had directed officials to come up with a list of green products by this year.
However, there had been disagreements on what should be in the basket, with countries pushing products that would promote domestic industries while blocking others that could have hurt home-grown companies.
In the end, the final list included equipment that recycles waste and controls air pollution along with gas turbines, geothermal energy turbines, solar water heaters, bamboo floor panels and wind turbines.
Marantis described the list as a "very good balance of interests among all APEC economies," which include the United States, China, Japan and Russia.
The ministers will submit the list to APEC leaders during their summit. A draft of the leaders' statement obtained by AFP said they "welcome and endorse" the list.
"By reducing tariffs on environmental goods, we will help our businesses and citizens to access important environment technologies, which will facilitate their deployment and use, contributing significantly to our green growth and trade liberalisation objective," the draft statement said.AFP