Despite possible successes, progress towards the Environmental Goods Agreement (ESA), launched in 2014 at the WTO, is limited. Only high-income countries, with the exception of China and Costa Rica, have participated in the current impasse in the negotiations. Only tariffs and goods are on the agenda, omitting services and other barriers to trade. Third, developing countries would have submitted broader lists of environmental products with a greater number of products for which they had a comparative advantage (Figure 2) if they had faced concerns from rich countries in the WTO, since many of the products on these lists would require differentiation between like products. This requires labelling and certification measures. Previous attempts have given rise to disputes before the WTO, which could only be dealt with by the Appellate Body. Developing countries were therefore concerned that trade liberalization would result in discrimination of their products on the basis of social and non-environmental interests. The United States is the main proponent of trade liberalization in environmental goods and services such as wind turbines, water treatment filters, and solar water heaters. By reducing tariffs on environmental goods, we can improve access to the technologies that the United States and other countries need to protect our environment, thereby reducing the costs of protecting the environment. at the same time, create a level playing field and provide opportunities for U.S. producers and encourage innovation in green technologies. Are there different models for environmental goods and how important is the regulatory environment, which is covered by a degree of regulatory overlap? The structural severity estimates for 2014, reported in our paper, show that environmental goods behave no other than other goods. This similarity reflects the fact that, although the APEC list represents only about 8% of the total number of product lines, any environmental specificity is unclear.
Reduced tariffs and increased regulatory overlaps are linked to greater bilateral trade. On average, a 10% increase in regulatory overlap is linked to an increase of about 2% in bilateral trade in non-organic goods. These results reflect the mercantilist behaviour of negotiators to exclude from the APEC list products with high tariffs and goods for which import demand would be most sensitive to tariff reductions. The high figures in Figure 3 of the APEC list for the high-income category confirm the observation that environmental objectives become more important with an increase in per capita income. In addition, the average figures for DNTs and DNTs are lower and similar across all epp groups, indicating that developing countries would face fewer obstacles if the EPP list were adopted. In a recent paper (Melo and Solleder 2018), we analyse the non-participation of developing countries in the EGA negotiations and provide new information on barriers to trade in environmental goods. The dataset covers 50 countries in 2014, 26 of which are low- and low-middle-income countries. We use two lists of environmental goods at the product level to show the diversity of interests and propose why developing countries have not participated. One of them is the apec list (54 products), which served as a starting point for the EGA negotiations; It consists mainly of industrial products that represent the interests of industrialized countries. The other is a list of 108 Eco-Preference Products (EPPs) that would better reflect the trade interests of developing countries if they had participated in the negotiations. This list mainly includes agricultural products for which many developing countries have a comparative advantage, while the APEC list mainly includes environmental management products (most often end-to-end technologies). Over the past few decades, the business community has been trying to find new ways to contribute to sustainability issues and the fight against climate change.
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