New Zealand Trade and Climate Change Minister Tim Groser on Wednesday welcomed the formal launch of international negotiations on the liberalization in the trade of environmental goods.
New Zealand was pleased to be part of the initiative involving 14 World Trade Organisation (WTO) members, which had been launched at the WTO headquarters in Geneva, Groser said in a statement from his office.
"Eliminating tariffs on goods that contribute to the protection of our environment is one of the most immediate and concrete contributions the WTO and its members can make to protect the environment and address climate change," said Groser.
The 14 WTO members collectively accounted for 86 percent of the global trade in environmental goods, and negotiations would be open to any WTO member committed to liberalization and ambition in promoting free trade in environmental goods, he said
"An ambitious outcome will also enable Kiwi businesses and innovators to benefit from improved access to a wide range of international markets for environmental goods. This includes some markets in which New Zealand does not have a free trade agreement, " said Groser.
The negotiations would seek to build on the 2012 APEC (the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation) Leaders' commitment to reduce tariffs on 54 environmental goods.
The APEC commitment includes key New Zealand exports, such as recycling systems, waste water management products and environmental monitoring and assessment equipment.
The launch participants are Australia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and the United States.