Free trade for ‘green’ goods

Freer trade could be one of the measures used to counter climate change:

The world’s biggest trading powers have unveiled a joint initiative to achieve global free trade in environment-related goods, as part of the fight against climate change.

The United States, European Union, China, Japan and several other developed economies said in a joint statement that the agreement would take effect once there is participation by a critical mass of members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The WTO estimates that the global market in green goods, technologies and services – ranging from solar panels to wind turbines and water recycling plants – at some $US1.4 trillion annually.

The initiative gets round the WTO’s requirement for unanimity on trade deals, and is in line with new WTO chief Roberto Azevedo’s drive to break a decade-old deadlock in world trade negotiations by first tackling the most promising areas for agreement. . .

Any progress on freer trade should be welcome but will the definition of green goods be based on science?

Will it favour goods with a lower carbon footprint over those with a higher one, such as New Zealand meat?

If the proposal is ever put into practice will it make a positive difference to trade and the environment or just be another triumph for bureaucracy and politics which consumers and producers will pay for?

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